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Tesla, Ford and others push for appeal in FTC-Qualcomm legal battle

A number of automakers called on the Federal Trade Commission to appeal after an appeals court sided with the latter over patent licensing procedures.

Qualcomm Snapdragon
Tesla and others want the FTC to appeal for the sake of competitive markets.

Chip maker Qualcomm won its day in court, but a number of technology companies and major automakers have called on the US Federal Trade Commission to appeal the ruling in a joint letter.

On Monday, companies such as Tesla, Ford, Honda, Intel, HP and others urged the FTC to appeal a ruling made earlier this month surrounding Qualcomm's patent licensing procedure. Reuters first reported the news following the letter's publication.

The issue at hand surrounds Qualcomm's practice of requiring companies using its chips to sign a patent license agreement before actually selling any chips. Each company signed onto the letter says this practice will make future connected vehicle technology more expensive as the practice weeds out competition.

Qualcomm originally lost its case in May 2019 and the judge presiding over the case wrote the chip maker's practice "strangled competition." However, in the latest appeal, a three-judge panel ruled in the company's favor.

The FTC declined to comment, but the automakers and tech companies underscored their feelings surrounding the matter in the letter.

"This decision would endanger domestic competitiveness, as well as weaken the ability of the FTC to protect consumers through future enforcement actions. Qualcomm's licensing practices reinforced its product monopoly, excluded rivals, and harmed the competitive process."