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South Korea fines Qualcomm $852.9 million for antitrust violations

Technology   The Korea Fair Trade Commission

South Korea’s antitrust watchdog fined Qualcomm $852.9 million for antitrust law violations as the U.S. chip maker faces global scrutiny over its patent-licensing business.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission said that Qualcomm violated antitrust law by limiting the access of competing chipset makers to its patents.

The company also forced mobile-phone manufacturing companies into unfair license agreements by refusing to supply crucial phone chips to those that disagree with its terms, the KFTC said.

Qualcomm used its position as a key chip supplier as a leveraging tool in its negotiations with mobile-phone makers to agree to unfair conditions, said Shin Young-son, Secretary-General at KFTC.

Qualcomm dismissed KFTC’s charges, saying that it hasn’t hindered other chip suppliers from their ability to sell.

The practice of licensing at the device level is an industrywide norm, said Don Rosenberg, general counsel at Qualcomm.


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