The Supreme Court has ruled that Qualcomm must pay the Korean FTC $243 million (200 billion won) in damages for a suit that was filed against the chip maker in 2009. The Korean FTC had sued the San Diego-based chipmaker then for its unfair and monopolistic practices to maintain its position in the mobile chip market.
In 2009, the Korean FTC had fined Qualcomm around $243 million (273 billion won). However, Qualcomm did not accept the decisions and appealed against it. In 2013, the Seoul High Court had ruled in the FTC’s favor which led to Qualcomm appealing against the decision in the Korean high court.
Now, the Supreme Court has ruled in FTC’s favor and has ordered Qualcomm to pay at least 200 billion won. The remainder of the amount requires a reconsideration which will be done at a lower court. In its ruling, the court says that by kickback to its customers like Samsung and LG for buying a certain number of chipsets, Qualcomm effectively ensured that phone makers never took chips from other companies. The kickbacks amounted to millions of dollars every quarter between 2000-2009.
Qualcomm has not made an announcement regarding the latest court’s ruling, with a spokesperson of the Korean office saying that there is “nothing to say at the moment.”
Qualcomm has been the subject of a number of lawsuits in a number of countries for its monopolistic business practices. It is for the same reason that the company is currently embroiled in a major lawsuit battle with Apple and its suppliers. The battle has led to Apple sourcing modem for iPhones from Intel and even stepping up efforts to make its own 5G modem.
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