Broadcom, Ericsson, NEC, Nokia, Panasonic Mobile Communications and Texas Instruments have filed complaints to the European Commission requesting that it investigate and stop Qualcomm’s anti-competitive conduct in the licensing of essential patents for 3G mobile technology.
The companies state that Qualcomm is violating EU competition law and failing to meet the commitments Qualcomm made to international standard bodies around the world that it would license its technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Absent these commitments, the WCDMA 3G standard would not have been adopted.
Specifically, Qualcomm is accused of trying to exclude competing manufacturers of chipsets for mobile phones from the market and preventing others from entering. To this end, Qualcomm is said to have committed a number of abuses, ranging from the refusal to licence essential patents to potential chipset competitors on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms to offering lower royalty rates to handset customers who buy chipsets exclusively from Qualcomm.
Qualcomm is also said to be charging royalties for its WCDMA essential patents that are excessive and disproportionate; in particular by imposing the same royalty rate on WCDMA 3G handsets as it does for CDMA2000 3G handsets despite the fact that Qualcomm has contributed far less technology to the WCDMA 3G standard than it has to the CDMA2000 standard.
The companies believe that Qualcomm’s anti-competitive behaviour has harmful effects for the mobile telecommunications sector in