Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Industry bodies support FTC's motion to require Qualcomm to license SEPs to rival chipset makers

It's a busy September on the FRAND front...

As I reported on the first of the month, the Federal Trade Commission brought a motion for partial summary judgment that may open up the wireless chipset market--by reminding Qualcomm of its self-imposed obligation to license rival chipset makers--even prior to the big antitrust trial in the Northern District of California.

It's odd that a mere reminder would be a potential game-changer, but that's the way it is because of Qualcomm's refusal to live up to the FRAND promise.

The strategic significance of the motion is underscored by an amicus curiae brief that two industry associations--ACT | The App Association and the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)--have asked Judge Lucy Koh to allow them to file (this post continues below the document):

18-09-17 ACT App Association & CCIA Amicus Brief by Florian Mueller on Scribd

The later the stage of proceeding, the more common it is for stakeholders to chime in. The summary judgment stage is definitely not where this typically happens. But the FTC's motion is special.

Also, I can't remember having seen a joint filing by those two organizations before.

There's a Mannheim trial today, so for logistical reasons I lack the time to comment on the brief in detail, but I did want to raise awareness. It's a good read, and if you do look at the PDF, please pay attention to what footnote 14 says about Europe (where a major wireless standard-setting organization, ETSI, is based) and Korea; and footnote 16, which quotes public statements by Qualcomm.

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