Several conservative groups have written to President Donald Trump asking him to stop the Federal Trade Commission from pursuing a lawsuit against Qualcomm over its patent licensing.
The FTC sued Qualcomm last week just days before President Trump took the oath of office. The FTC lawsuit says that Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices amount to an illegal “patent tax” on smartphone makers who choose non-Qualcomm processors.
Yesterday, conservative groups including Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union sent a letter (PDF) to the White House calling the FTC lawsuit “midnight regulation at its worst,” a misuse of antitrust law to “undercut patent property rights and conservative free market principles.” The letter was first reported by Morning Consult.
The FTC lawsuit was filed by a 2-1 vote, with Republican Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen writing a strongly worded dissent. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, a Democrat who voted in favor of the lawsuit against Qualcomm, has already announced that she will resign on February 10. In their letter, the conservative groups say that Ohlhausen should be made permanent chair of the FTC. The president appointed Ohlhausen as interim chair yesterday.
“Commissioner Ohlhausen has pledged to uphold intellectual property rights and undertake only evidence-based antitrust investigations, in contra-distinction to the politically motivated actions taken by the outgoing FTC that harm U.S. companies relative to Asian competitors,” the letter states.
The FTC lawsuit was quickly followed by a legal attack by Apple, which filed lawsuits against Qualcomm in the US and …