Tesla, Intel, and Others Urge America’s FTC to Oppose Qualcomm Ruling

Tesla, Ford, Honda, Daimler, and Intel have asked America’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to fight a recent court ruling in favour of Qualcomm, reports the BBC:
Qualcomm has a practice of requiring customers to sign patent licence agreements before selling them chips. Such practices have drawn accusations the firm is stifling competition… According to Glyn Moody, a journalist specialising in tech policy, the car industry is bothered by Qualcomm’s patent practices because “cars are essentially becoming computers on wheels”, as the industry continues to develop more advanced connected cars. In the future, it is hoped that connected cars will use 5G processors to connect them to the internet. Carmakers have seen this battle over 4G and are worried it will cement the firm’s position as the battle for dominance over 5G technology advances.

“This is a completely different world than the one [carmakers] are used to, so they’re suddenly faced with dealing with computer standards and computer patents, which is a big problem for them as they don’t have any. So if they have to start licensing this stuff, it’s going to get expensive for them,” Mr. Moody told the BBC…

Prof Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School is director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science and Technology. He has been following Qualcomm’s various court cases for several years. “Qualcomm made a commitment that it would licence its chips on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, because they wanted their chips to be included in the industry standards, and then they created a structure to avoid doing this,” he said.

“I think they are in fact violating the antitrust laws.”

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