Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 12 News List

FTC, Qualcomm silent as fine deadline passes

HEAVIEST FTC PENALTY:The Ministry of Economic Affairs is worried about losing a vital partner. Fair Trade Commission spokesman Perng Shaw-jiin says the fine reflects the damage

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) and Qualcomm Inc both kept mum yesterday as the deadline for a massive fine handed out by the regulator passed.

The FTC on Oct. 11 fined the world’s biggest mobile phone chipmaker NT$23.4 billion (US$774.73 million) over unfair practices, such as price manipulation, that had hampered market competition over a seven-year period.

The fine is the heaviest penalty dealt since the commission was founded in 1992.

FTC spokesman Perng Shaw-jiin (彭紹瑾) had said that once Qualcomm received the ruling, the fines would have to be paid in 15 days, in the absence of counter litigation.

Qualcomm would also be given the option of paying the fine in no more than 60 installments over five years, Perng had said.

Perng had said that the fines reflected the damage done to the nation’s technology supply chain and were not calculated based on the scale of Taiwan’s market.

Neither party could be reached for comment.

The case has since sparked concerns that the heavy penalties would compromise Taiwan-US collaborations in the technology sector.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that it is worried about losing a vital partner in current government initiatives, including the Asian Silicon Valley Development Plan and the forthcoming push to move toward 5G mobile broadband network technology, while lawmakers questioned whether the commission had calculated the fine fairly.

During the seven years, Qualcomm collected about NT$400 billion in intellectual property licensing fees and sold US$30 billion worth of products to Taiwan’s technology sector suppliers, the commission said.

Qualcomm, which is also caught up in antitrust cases in China and South Korea, has said that it would continue to appeal, contesting the method used by the commission in calculating its fines in Taiwan, while the FTC has firmly stood its ground.

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