The Seoul High Court ruled on Dec. 4 that the Korea Fair Trade Commission’s 1 trillion won fine on Qualcomm is legitimate. Those in the industry welcomed the news although they said that the ruling is likely to have a limited impact on the market and mobile phone prices.
Most of them, including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, refused to make an official comment on the ruling. This is because their smartphones cannot be produced without Qualcomm chips although Qualcomm has monopolized the market while demanding excessive patent royalties. According to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Qualcomm’s current share in the global 5G chip market amounts to 87.9 percent.
As mentioned above, the impact of the ruling on mobile phone prices is likely to be rather limited. The court ruled that neither mobile phone manufacturers’ payments to Qualcomm that have been made in proportion to their selling prices nor Qualcomm’s free use of their patents constitutes an unbalanced contract.
Qualcomm complained about the ruling. Qualcomm Korea said in its statement that the ruling is ill-founded in terms of facts and laws alike and denies its fundamental rights based on legitimate procedures. “The Korea Fair Trade Commission’s decision is to inappropriately regulate our intellectual property rights granted under the laws of multiple countries, including the United States, and the commission exceeded its own authority and violated international legal principles by pursuing the regulation,” it continued to say.