European Union (EU) regulators drop Qualcomm investigation

European Union (EU) regulators closed their investigation of  Qualcomm Inc. after all of the companies accusing Qualcomm of charging excessive royalties on technology patents withdrew their complaints. In 2005, six technology companies filed complaints alleging that the royalties Qualcomm has charged since its patented technology became part of Europe’s 3G standard are unreasonably high. Two of the companies, Nokia and Broadcom, withdrew their complaints after reaching separate outside settlements. Ericsson said in a statement that it is withdrawing the complaint and continuing “its ongoing dialogue with competition authorities around the world in relation to Qualcomm’s licensing practices.” Since all complaints have now been withdrawn, the EU dropped its investigation and is focusing its resources elsewhere. Qualcomm still faces antitrust scrutiny elsewhere in the world. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission said in September that Qualcomm coerced Japanese mobile-phone makers into agreements that prevented them from asserting their intellectual property rights, impeding fair competition and ordered Qualcomm to rescind the restrictive provisions. Earlier this year Qualcomm was fined 260 billion Won ($220 million USD) by South Korea’s antitrust agency for deterring competition through unfair fees and is currently appealing the fine. While the EU closed its four-year old antitrust investigation without levying a fine, Qualcomm was not absolved of wronging and the investigation could be restarted if another complaint is filed.

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