Qualcomm settles monopoly charges with Chinese regulator, fined $975 million
The NDRC has issued an Administrative Sanction Decision finding that Qualcomm has violated the AML. Qualcomm will not pursue further legal proceedings contesting the findings and has agreed to implement a rectification plan that modifies certain of its business practices in China and that fully satisfies the requirements of the NDRC’s order.
In addition, the NDRC imposed a fine on the Company of 6.088 billion Chinese Yuan Renminbi (approximately$975 million at current exchange rates), which Qualcomm will not contest. Qualcomm will pay the fine on a timely basis as required by the NDRC.
Although Qualcomm is disappointed with the results of the investigation, it is pleased that the NDRC has reviewed and approved the Company’s rectification plan.
Under the rectification plan Qualcomm will offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents separately from licenses to its other patents and it will provide patent lists during the negotiation process. If Qualcomm seeks a cross license from a Chinese licensee as part of such offer, it will negotiate with the licensee in good faith and provide fair consideration for such rights.
For licenses of Qualcomm’s 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents for branded devices sold for use in China, Qualcomm will charge royalties of 5% for 3G devices (including multimode 3G/4G devices) and 3.5% for 4G devices (including 3-mode LTE-TDD devices) that do not implement CDMA or WCDMA, in each case using a royalty base of 65% of the net selling price of the device.
Qualcomm will give its existing licensees an opportunity to elect to take the new terms for sales of branded devices for use in China as of January 1, 2015.
Qualcomm will not condition the sale of baseband chips on the chip customer signing a license agreement with terms that the NDRC found to be unreasonable or on the chip customer not challenging unreasonable terms in its license agreement. However, this does not require Qualcomm to sell chips to any entity that is not a Qualcomm licensee, and does not apply to a chip customer that refuses to report its sales of licensed devices as required by its patent license agreement.
"We are pleased that the investigation has concluded and believe that our licensing business is now well positioned to fully participate in China’s rapidly accelerating adoption of our 3G/4G technology," said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm. "We appreciate the NDRC’s acknowledgment of the value and importance of Qualcomm’s technology and many contributions to China, and look forward to its future support of our business inChina."
"Qualcomm has played an important role in the success of the mobile and semiconductor industries in China for many years, and we look forward to building upon this foundation as we grow our investments, engagement and business in China," said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm. "We are pleased that the resolution has removed the uncertainty surrounding our business in China, and we will now focus our full attention and resources on supporting our customers and partners in China and pursuing the many opportunities ahead."
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