February 2018 - The article, "Antitrust fight," by Michael Salzman, was published in Intellectual Property Magazine.
One year after hostilities broke out, we are still in the early rounds of the two front attack in Californian federal courts by Apple and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Qualcomm’s licensing programme for its smartphone patents – including especially the standard essential patents in its portfolio. So it is too early to mark in stone any lessons we might draw from the charges being levelled in those cases. Yet, Qualcomm has taken a couple of hits in the early stages in the US courts, after a $975m settlement with the Chinese antitrust authorities, a harsh loss in the Korean Federal Trade Commission, and ongoing, additional scrutiny in Taiwan, the UK, the EU, and Japan.2 So, for those more inclined to find an alternate route around – rather than proceeding through – a war zone, it is not too early to look at the charges being levelled and consider how they might be avoided. After a brief summary of the background for those who haven’t been following these cases blow by blow, this article will chart where the mines have been spotted and suggest some avoidance strategies.