After the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) imposed a fine of 273.2 billion won (about 243 million U.S. dollars) on Qualcomm, a world-class information technology company, in 2009, the Supreme Court finally agreed with the FTC in a lawsuit that lasted for 10 years.
The Supreme Court said on Feb. 11 that it dismissed the original ruling that the court had decided partially in favor of the plaintiff and sent the case back to the Seoul High Court in an appeal against the FTC to cancel the order to pay the fine. The Supreme Court judged that it is unfair for Qualcomm to discriminate against Korean mobile phone makers in royalties and offer rebates conditionally.
It was in July 2009 that FTC first imposed sanctions on Qualcomm. According to the FTC's survey at that time, Qualcomm allowed domestic mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and Pantech to use CDMA (code division multiple access) patent technology from April 2004 to July 2009. And It has been revealed that Qualcomm received more royalties if they use modem chips from its competitors while using the CDMA patent technology.
In addition, it was revealed that Qualcomm gave an average annual rebate of millions of dollars to Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics on condition that they use its modem chips from July 2000 to July 2009.
However, the Supreme Court judged that Qualcomm's offer of rebates to LG Electronics was not unfair as LG Electronics had a low market share so that it did not have enough effect to limit the competition.