Ha ha, OK, fun's over. Time to drop that FTC antitrust thing, like, now – Qualcomm begs court
Us? Screw over Apple? Pffft!
Qualcomm has urged a US judge to throw out claims it massively and illegally overcharged Apple and others for its chip technology.
In January, America's trade watchdog, the FTC, dragged Qualcomm into a San Jose district court in California, and accused the ruling phone modem designer of abusing its market dominance to force tech giants into shoveling spades of cash into its coffers.
This week, Qualy shot back, claiming there is no legal basis for the FTC's bust-up. "The complaint does not allege a single instance in which a competing chip supplier failed to make a sale, changed its pricing, or suffered any other consequence because of Qualcomm's patent royalties," the motion to dismiss [PDF] reads.
"Rather than point to such facts, the FTC's challenge to Qualcomm's practice of not selling to infringers rests entirely on its speculative 'tax' theory of harm; and the theory itself is foreclosed by black-letter law." ("Black-letter law" is legal jargon for something that is well established and no one sane disputes.)
Specifically, the FTC alleged Qualy trashed US antitrust laws by abusing the fact that it supplies baseband chips to a substantial chunk of the cellphone market. This gives it the ability to lean on the likes of Apple, and force them to sign expensive licensing deals that covered technology Qualcomm doesn't even use in its chip blueprints, it is claimed.
"Qualcomm has engaged in exclusionary conduct that taxes its competitors' baseband processor sales, reduces competitors' ability and incentive to innovate, and raises prices paid by consumers for cell phones and tablets," the FTC alleged.
That, suit, however, lacks any substance in Qualcomm's eyes, and the Snapdragon mastermind says the entire ordeal is a waste of time. The California giant is now asking Judge Lucy Koh to drop the matter entirely.
"After investigating Qualcomm for over two years, reviewing millions of documents and taking testimony from Qualcomm and third parties, the FTC filed a complaint that does not plead facts supporting the basic elements of an antitrust claim and does not allege a plausible antitrust theory," the motion reads.
"Most strikingly, the complaint does not contain any factual allegations of anticompetitive harm to Qualcomm's rivals in the supply of modem chips." ®