CCIA Joins in Letter Urging Appeal of Qualcomm Decision

An exterior view of the Federal Trade Commission building
(Image credit: Future)

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has joined with almost two dozen other companies and associations to urge the Federal Trade Commission to seek full court review of a court decision concluding Qualcomm was not guilty of anticompetitive conduct.

That came in a joint letter from, among others, the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and Public Knowledge.

In a big victory for the smart device essential patents holder, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month reversed a district court decision and lifted a permanent, worldwide, injunction against Qualcomm

Computer companies almost immediately signaled they would appeal the decision.

The Federal Trade Commission had contended that Qualcomm had unlawfully monopolized the "code division multiple access ('CDMA') and premium long-term evolution ('LTE')" cellular modern chip markets, and the district court agreed. But a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit was unpersuaded. Writing for the majority, Judge Consuelo M. Callahan said that the district court "erred in holding that Qualcomm was under an antitrust duty to license rival chip manufacturers."

In the letter, the companies said the decision "undermines longstanding U.S. law and policy and wrongly applies competition law," and that "if it becomes precedent, this decision would endanger domestic competitiveness, as well as weaken the ability of the FTC to protect consumers through future enforcement actions.... If allowed to stand, the panel’s decision could destabilize the standards ecosystem by encouraging the abuse of market power acquired through collaborative standard-setting," they said. "The panel’s opinion could embolden foreign entities to refuse to license their standard essential patents (SEPs) to competitors in the United States."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.