Thursday, December 13, 2012

Qualcomm withdraws Apple-bashing submission to ITC, says it wasn't appropriately authorized

Two days ago I reported on a rather surprising submission on FRAND issues that Qualcomm filed with the ITC. It was replete with Apple-bashing, and Apple is actually a major Qualcomm baseband chip customer. Now Qualcomm says the letter wasn't "appropriately authorized" (I guess this means that high-level decision-makers at Qualcomm wouldn't have endorsed such a frontal assault on a huge customer) and that it "would not wish the Commission to consider" the submission. In order to distance itself from the letter and formally requests its withdrawal, Qualcomm yesterday filed a letter with the ITC that entered the public record today and contains the following two paragraphs:

As a result of an inadvertent error, a submission was made in Qualcomm's name on December 10, 2012 that had not been appropriately authorized, and that Qualcomm would not wish the Commission to consider. Accordingly, Qualcomm withdraws that submission, requests that the Commission give it no consideration, and requests that it be treated as though it had never been made. Qualcomm relies solely on its previous submission in this matter of December 3, 2012.

in addition, Qualcomm respectfully requests that the December 10, 2012 submission be immediately and permanently removed from the public record, both because it inadvertenly threatens disclosure of confidential business information (CBI) relating to Qualcomm's business relationships, continuing disclosure of which will harm Qualcomm, and because it was filed without appropriate authorization.

A third paragraph then mentions that Qualcomm had already asked the ITC to remove the document from the electronic document system on an interim basis while it was working to determine "the correct formal means of making this request".

I will link to this post from the one mentioning Qualcomm's letter just to ensure, without having a formal obligation to do so, that there be no misunderstandings of Qualcomm's corporate position.

The letter that Qualcomm's senior vice president and legal counsel Alexander H. Rogers says lacked appropriate authorization had been filed "on Qualcomm's behalf" by the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, which is particularly close to IBM. I doubt that Cravath filed this without any authorization, but it's possible that it relied on green light from someone inside Qualcomm who wasn't the right person to determine whether the company would launch a scathing attack on Apple.

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