The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reverses a ruling finding that a semiconductor company abuses its dominant position regarding its standard-essential patents (Qualcomm)

On August 11, 2020, a Ninth Circuit panel reversed the District Court for the Northern District of California’s judgment in FTC v. Qualcomm, Inc. The panel held that Qualcomm’s conduct—(a) refusing to license its standards essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipset manufacturers; (b) refusing to supply chipsets to OEMs unless they first executed a license to its SEPs (“no license, no chips”); and (c) making exclusivity payments to Apple—was not anticompetitive. The panel did not disturb the District Court’s conclusions that Qualcomm had monopoly power in the markets for code division multiple access (CDMA) and premium long-term evolution (LTE) cellular modern chipsets. The panel’s opinion had several key holdings: A duty to deal requires a short-term sacrifice of profits and a previous

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Authors

  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (New York)

Quotation

Maurits J. F. M. Dolmans, Daniel P. Culley, David Herrington, Jessica Hollis, Alexandra Theobald, The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reverses a ruling finding that a semiconductor company abuses its dominant position regarding its standard-essential patents (Qualcomm), 11 August 2020, e-Competitions September 2020, Art. N° 96558

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