Tough times ahead for Qualcomm as the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has fined the SoC manufacturing company a staggering 1.03 trillion Won ($854 million) fine for allegedly violating the country’s anti-trust laws. It’s “Patent Wars” all over again, folks.
International news agency Reuters reported on Wednesday that the KFTC judged that Qualcomm took advantage of its leading market position to force smartphone manufacturers to pay for royalties “for an unnecessarily broad set of patents.” The company also hindered fair competition by restricting rival chipmakers access to its patents.
A hefty 30% of the company’s $25B revenue last year came from patent-licensing deals alone. The Korea Fair Trade Commission argues that the ruling will level the playing field and “correct a business model that allowed Qualcomm to maintain and extend its dominance.” As expected, Qualcomm plans to challenge this decision over at Korea’s higher courts.
This is the second time that Qualcomm has been fined for violating anti-trust laws. Earlier in 2015, the company was forced to pay $975 in China after the country’s agencies looked into Qualcomm’s monopolistic practices.