Qualcomm loses appeal against EU threat of daily fine

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM.O) faces the threat of a daily fine of 580,000 euros ($665,000) for failing to provide EU antitrust regulators with information after losing an appeal against the penalty in an EU court on Monday.

Qualcomm, which was charged by the European Commission of using anti-competitive methods to squeeze out British phone software maker Icera, last month asked the Luxembourg-based General Court to suspend the order.

The company said the EU competition authority’s demand entailed enormous work and significant financial costs estimated at no less than 3 million euros as it involved more than 50 employees and 16 external advisers, according to its court filing.

Court President Marc Jaeger dismissed the appeal in a July 12 ruling.

“The applicant does not claim that its financial viability would be at risk or that its market share could be affected substantially,” he said.

“Furthermore, it does not give any explanation as to why it would be impossible to seek compensation for the alleged financial costs it would suffer by answering the questions.”

The Commission and Qualcomm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Qualcomm faces a second EU antitrust charge of making illegal payments to a major customer for exclusively using its chipsets since 2011. It faces fines as much as 10 percent of its global turnover for each case if found guilty of breaking EU rules.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Pritha Sarkar