South Korea fines Qualcomm $854 million for violating competition laws
South Korea’s antitrust regulator fined Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) 1.03 trillion won ($854 million) for what it called unfair business practices in patent licensing and modem chip sales, a decision the U.S. chipmaker said it will challenge in court.
The fine, the largest ever levied in South Korea, marks the latest antitrust setback for Qualcomm’s most profitable business of licensing wireless patents to the mobile industry, at a time when the business is facing headwinds from a cooling smartphone market. Shares in Qualcomm fell 1.7 percent on Nasdaq.
The Korea Fair Trade Commission has also ruled that the company must start negotiating with honest intentions regarding patent licensing with its rivals. And if requested, Qualcomm will also have to renegotiate the chip supply agreements it has with smartphone manufacturers.
It’s not the first time Qualcomm runs afoul of competition regulation. In 2015, the chip maker paid $1 billion to settle an antitrust investigation in China over its patent licensing practices.