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Qualcomm Broadband Processor Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit

This class action lawsuit claims that Qualcomm maintained a monopoly in baseband processors by engaging in illegal patent, contract, licensing, and dealing practices.

            Qualcomm is a global semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless networks in use around the world.  One of the products that they manufacture are baseband processors, a necessary component in today’s cell phones that allows the device to connect to the cellular network.  For the cellular network to operate, and for each component to work with the other components, regardless of which company makes each part, carriers must agree to follow a common set of standards.  This set of standards is designed to allow cell phones to work without excluding competition.  Qualcomm engaged in a practice called “patent-holdup” in which it held a patent on the standard and essential broadband processors found in many cell phones and demanded excessive royalties after other companies were locked into their product.

            Patent-holdup is the mechanism in which Qualcomm could hold a monopoly, and this monopoly was maintained in multiple ways.  Qualcomm failed to license standard-essential patents to all applicants on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.  The company withheld their baseband processors unless a customer accepts a licenses to standard-essential patents on terms imposed by Qualcomm, including excessive royalties.  Qualcomm refused to license its cellular standard-essential patents to competitors.  Finally, they entered into exclusive dealing arrangements, including with Apple.

            One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Michelle Mackay, is a resident of Escondido, California.  She has purchased many products with Qualcomm’s broadband processors including an iPad Air, an iPhone 5, and an iPhone 6s.  Like other plaintiffs in this case and consumers nationally, she paid an inflated price directly resulting from Qualcomm’s unlawful conduct.

            Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege the following violations:

  • Monopolization in Violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act
  • Violation of the Cartwright Act
  • Violations of the California Unfair Competition Law
  • Violation of other State Antitrust Laws
  • Violation of other State Consumer Laws
  • Unjust Enrichment
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Qualcomm Antitrust Complaint

January 25, 2017

This complaint claims that Qualcomm engaged in monopolistic practices in its marketing, licensing, and patenting of broadband processors.

qualcomm_antitrust_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Qualcomm Antitrust Complaint

January 25, 2017

This complaint claims that Qualcomm engaged in monopolistic practices in its marketing, licensing, and patenting of broadband processors.

qualcomm_antitrust_complaint.pdf
Tags: Collusion and Price Fixing