South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission takes aim at Qualcomm

World - Mohit Shah - Feb 23,2017

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south koreas fair trade commission takes aim at qualcomm

South Korea’s KFTC fine U.S. giant, Qualcomm, for an estimated $873 million for unfairly using its market position in the country.

According to Korea Herald, the court filing was done in Seoul Central District Court during the late hours on Tuesday.

It has been revealed that Qualcomm has pursued a stay over the fines estimated to be $873 million imposed by the Fair Trade Commission of South Korea.

The Korean newspaper also stated that the lawyers for the U.S. tech giant have requested for a halt to the execution of the fine along with related penalties.

The order was issued in late December against the U.S.-based chipmaker for unfairly using its status in the Korean market.

It is known to be the largest fine in South Korean history which targets Qualcomm for engaging in several different anti-competitive activities such as the refusal to offer licenses to chipset manufacturers as well as pressing high costs for patents used by smartphone makers.  

In the recent time, the KFTC has been engaged in multiple political and procedural abnormalities that should invalidate its decision along with the involved fine. 

It has been revealed that certain procedural safeguards were denied to Qualcomm by the KFTC. These safeguards are mentioned under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (“KORUS”) and are guaranteed to American companies.

According to sources, South Korean prosecutors are also looking for Samsung's influence on the KFTC. They have interrogated Kim Hak-hyun, who was the vice chairman of the antitrust watchdog until last month.

On Monday, Qualcomm's General Counsel Don Rosenberg told news outlets that the fine was under question due to a possible connection with the ongoing corruption scandal which encompasses big names such as South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye and Samsung Electronics chief Jay Y. Lee.