U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm lost a 10-year legal battle against a W273.2 billion ($242.9 million) fine from Korea's Fair Trade Commission.
The Supreme Court in South Korea ruled Monday that a minimum W200 billion fine is reasonable. The Supreme Court, however, sent the case back to the lower Seoul High Court for reconsideration on the fine. It judged that some part of the penalty related to rebates paid by Qualcomm to LG on condition to use its radio frequency (RF) chips should be canceled because it found the practice didn’t have a significant damage on market competition as argued by the FTC.
Qualcomm was nabbed by the FTC for offering cut-price chips to Samsung and LG from 2000 to 2009 on condition that they used them exclusively, while charging other handset makers excessive royalties.
Qualcomm countersued, and the Seoul High Court in 2013 sided with the FTC.
The Supreme Court upheld most of the lower court's ruling.
Qualcomm and the FTC engaged in a separate legal battle over the largest-ever fine of 1.03 trillion won imposed on Qualcomm in December 2016 for allegedly abusing its power in chip supplies and patent licensing.