Qualcomm sued for £480 million over anti-competitive behaviour in UK

Qualcomm sued for £480 million over anti-competitive behaviour in UK.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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A British consumer rights association has sued Qualcomm for allegedly breaching UK competition law by taking advantage of its dominance in the patent licensing and chipset manufacturing markets.

The consumer group ‘Which?’ claimed that due to the chipmaker’s dominance, it charges manufacturers like Apple and Samsung inflated fees for technology licenses.

The raise is then passed on to consumers in the form of higher smartphone prices.

“We believe Qualcomm’s practices are anticompetitive and have so far taken around £480 million from UK consumers’ pockets,” Anabel Hoult, CEO of Which?, said in a statement.

“We are sending a clear warning that if companies like Qualcomm indulge in manipulative practices which harm consumers, [we are] prepared to take action.”

The consumer group is seeking damages for all affected Apple and Samsung smartphones purchases since October 1, 2015. If the lawsuit is successful, about 29 million Britons could be entitled to a pay-out.

According to the group’s estimate, each consumer could get up to £30, depending on the type of smartphone, but most consumer would receive about £17.

Hoult’s group is said to have advised Qualcomm to settle the claim without litigation by giving the money back to the consumers.

Qualcomm has come under the hammer multiple times for its anticompetitive behaviour in the last few years. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission in the US sued Qualcomm for its licensing practices.

It was also been penalised up to $2.6 billion for antitrust behaviour in China, Korea and Taiwan. While the European Commission has fined Qualcomm around 1.2 billion euros in the last few years for breaching competition law and abusing its market power.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 12:25:29 AM |

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