August 2019

FTC and DOJ Face Off Over Antitrust And FRAND Licensing In FTC v. Qualcomm

[This is the first in a series of posts that will follow FTC v. Qualcomm as it proceeds through the Ninth Circuit and perhaps to the Supreme Court]

Antitrust law in the United States is regulated by both the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Usually, these two agencies are able to reach a common understanding on antitrust policy and enforcement. Infrequently, they find themselves in disagreement. Currently, the proper antitrust treatment of standard-essential patents and patent-holder commitments to make these patents available on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” is such an occasion. The disagreement has come to a head in FTC v. Qualcomm, now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.

Standard-Essential Patents and “FRAND” First, a brief introduction to standard setting and essential patents.

A technological standard adopted by a standard setting organization (an “SSO”) may sometimes be written in such a way that it is impossible to build a product or provide a service without infringing on one or more patents.Read the full article