Two US regulators on opposite side of Qualcomm 5G court battle

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will begin hearing opposing oral arguments today from the Federal Trade

qualcomm

Photo: ZDNet

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will begin hearing opposing oral arguments today from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice in an antitrust case against chipmaker Qualcomm.

The appeal follows a lower court decision last year, which ruled that Qualcomm engaged in anti-competitive practices by refusing to sell its chips to phone makers unless they agreed to license Qualcomm’s patents. While the FTC argues that Qualcomm violated US antitrust law, the Justice Department contends that US national security is at stake due to Qualcomm’s involvement in producing chips that support 5G.

If the ruling of the lower court is upheld, the US’ leading source of 5G chip technology would be forced to share its intellectual property with overseas competitors, such as Huawei, at “fair” prices. This comes as the Washington is aiming to prevent the spread of Huawei’s technology due to the company’s ties to the Chinese government.

While some analysts expect the appeals court to side with Qualcomm, do not expect this issue to be resolved in the near-term. Notwithstanding any further appeals to the Supreme Court, the appeals process could turn into a months-long standoff over the race to develop 5G technology.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.