(Jason Doiy / ALM)

The antitrust suits are coming fast and furious against Qualcomm Inc.

The Federal Trade Commission sued the dominant provider of mobile phone chipsets Jan. 17. Since then Apple Inc. has sued in the U.S. and China, claiming billions in allegedly ill-gotten gains. And now consumers and even a small business that buys mobile phones for its employees are bringing class actions.

Qualcomm ignored its contractual obligation to license standard-essential patents at fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) rates, Bleichmar, Fonti & Auld partner Lesley Weaver wrote in a complaint filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court. Rather, the company is “extracting unreasonably high, unilaterally-determined royalty payments. Those payments have been passed on to consumers, according to the FTC.”

Hausfeld LLP has filed a similar class action on behalf of individual consumers. The two plaintiff firms are seeking to relate their cases to the FTC action, which has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

Qualcomm has already been taking an antitrust beating overseas. The Chinese government fined the company $975 million over monopolization, and the Korea Fair Trade Commission handed down a $854 million penalty last month.

The U.S. FTC filed its complaint last week, accusing Qualcomm of threatening to disrupt chipset supplies when manufacturers tried to enforce Qualcomm’s FRAND licensing promises. “The risk of losing access to Qualcomm baseband processors is too great for a cell phone manufacturer to bear because it would preclude the manufacturer from selling phones for use on important cellular networks,” said Geoffrey Greene, assistant director of the FTC’s bureau of competition, in the agency’s complaint.

Qualcomm has accused the FTC of rushing to court with a flawed theory in the waning days of the Obama administration at the bidding of companies such as Apple. It notes that the commission split 2-1 over whether to file at all. “The complaint seeks to advance the interests and bargaining power of companies that have generated billions in profit from sales of products made possible by the fundamental 3G and 4G cellular technology developed by innovators like Qualcomm,” the company stated in a press release.

Indeed, Apple followed with its own lawsuits. Apple complains, among other things, that Qualcomm insists on pegging its license to the sale price of iPhones. “Even when Apple sells an iPhone with added memory—256 GB instead of 128 GB—Qualcomm collects a larger royalty just because of that added memory,” Apple states in its complaint, signed by Fish & Richardson partner Juanita Brooks.

Apple also is represented by Boies Schiller Flexner. The company contends that Qualcomm tried to “extort Apple into changing its responses and providing false information to the [Korea] FTC in exchange for Qualcomm’s release of those payments.” The case has been assigned to San Diego U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Qualcomm is represented by Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in the FTC case.

Originally published on The Recorder. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

The antitrust suits are coming fast and furious against Qualcomm Inc.

The Federal Trade Commission sued the dominant provider of mobile phone chipsets Jan. 17. Since then Apple Inc. has sued in the U.S. and China, claiming billions in allegedly ill-gotten gains. And now consumers and even a small business that buys mobile phones for its employees are bringing class actions.

Qualcomm ignored its contractual obligation to license standard-essential patents at fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) rates, Bleichmar, Fonti & Auld partner Lesley Weaver wrote in a complaint filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court. Rather, the company is “extracting unreasonably high, unilaterally-determined royalty payments. Those payments have been passed on to consumers, according to the FTC.”

Hausfeld LLP has filed a similar class action on behalf of individual consumers. The two plaintiff firms are seeking to relate their cases to the FTC action, which has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

Qualcomm has already been taking an antitrust beating overseas. The Chinese government fined the company $975 million over monopolization, and the Korea Fair Trade Commission handed down a $854 million penalty last month.

The U.S. FTC filed its complaint last week, accusing Qualcomm of threatening to disrupt chipset supplies when manufacturers tried to enforce Qualcomm’s FRAND licensing promises. “The risk of losing access to Qualcomm baseband processors is too great for a cell phone manufacturer to bear because it would preclude the manufacturer from selling phones for use on important cellular networks,” said Geoffrey Greene, assistant director of the FTC’s bureau of competition, in the agency’s complaint.

Qualcomm has accused the FTC of rushing to court with a flawed theory in the waning days of the Obama administration at the bidding of companies such as Apple . It notes that the commission split 2-1 over whether to file at all. “The complaint seeks to advance the interests and bargaining power of companies that have generated billions in profit from sales of products made possible by the fundamental 3G and 4G cellular technology developed by innovators like Qualcomm,” the company stated in a press release.

Indeed, Apple followed with its own lawsuits. Apple complains, among other things, that Qualcomm insists on pegging its license to the sale price of iPhones. “Even when Apple sells an iPhone with added memory—256 GB instead of 128 GB—Qualcomm collects a larger royalty just because of that added memory,” Apple states in its complaint, signed by Fish & Richardson partner Juanita Brooks.

Apple also is represented by Boies Schiller Flexner . The company contends that Qualcomm tried to “extort Apple into changing its responses and providing false information to the [Korea] FTC in exchange for Qualcomm’s release of those payments.” The case has been assigned to San Diego U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Qualcomm is represented by Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in the FTC case.

Originally published on The Recorder. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.