US: FTC and Qualcomm granted access to Nokia docs in antitrust suits

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a putative class of cellphone purchasers asked a California federal court to request help from the Finnish government in securing documents from Nokia in parallel litigations over Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices, a day after Qualcomm made a similar request for its defense.

According to Law360 on Monday, November 6, a California federal court ruled that the FTC and Qualcomm are allowed to request request documents from a Finnish government agency in a lawsuit over patent licensing practices.

The FTC and the purchasers are both embroiled in lawsuits alleging Qualcomm Inc. used its dominance in the market for baseband processors in order to wrangle higher royalties and anti-competitive licensing terms from cellphone makers for its standard-essential patents. They filed a joint motion on Tuesday seeking international judicial assistance in procuring evidence from the Finland-based electronics and telecommunications company Nokia Corp., while Qualcomm issued a similar request in the FTC’s case on Monday.

The FTC and the purchasers said that Nokia, like Qualcomm, has agreed to license its standard-essential patents on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory, or FRAND, terms and that the documents they are requesting could shed light on Qualcomm’s alleged conduct and its effects.

“Nokia likely possesses documents relevant to plaintiffs’ claims that Qualcomm uses monopoly power in baseband processor markets to distort licensing negotiations and extract license terms that disadvantage Qualcomm’s competitors, including documents which may show that Qualcomm’s licensing policies are anomalous among SEP licensors,” the motion said.

Full Content: Law 360

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