General Court Dismisses Qualcomm’s Excessive Legal Bill Claim


The General Court based in Luxembourg recently ruled Qualcomm’s claim to an excessive number of worked hours and hourly rates “manifestly excessive”. The US-based company had submitted a legal bill to the European Commission in 2022 for its widely publicized antitrust case. However, the court dismissed Qualcomm’s arguments and set a total fee for the legal proceedings.

European Court Disputes Qualcomm’s Legal Bill

The Luxembourg-based General Court declared that the number of hours and hourly rates claimed by Qualcomm to be overly excessive. The tech giant had presented this bill to the European Commission in 2022, following the court’s support for the US group’s campaign against a 997 million euro EU antitrust fine sanctioned in 2018. Additionally, the court had ordered the regulatory body to handle the legal costs accrued by Qualcomm.

Discrepancies over the legal Bill

The European Commission strongly contested the 12,041,755.80 euros initially demanded by Qualcomm. The regulatory body insisted that the appropriate amount should be a significantly reduced 405,315 euros. In response, Qualcomm justified its lofty legal bill by citing the case’s importance, its intricate nature, and the extensive work put in by a 19-member legal team.

Court Ruling on Qualcomm’s legal plea

The judges, in a ruling published on the court’s website on February 29, rejected Qualcomm’s rationale. The judges said they were merely concerned with the combined number of work hours necessary for the legal proceedings, disregarding the number of lawyers working on the case. The court highlighted that, the hourly rates were not associated with distinct, precisely identified tasks, dismissing Qualcomm’s claim for a substantial pay.

Judges’ Stance on the Issue

“The applicant’s (Qualcomm’s) request is insufficiently substantiated and manifestly excessive regarding both the claimed amounts and the total work hours along with their associated hourly rates,” stated the judges determining the case. Quartz Emanuel’s law firm was awarded a total fee inclusive of expenses amounting to 754,190 euros, while Compass Lexecon/FTI’s economic consultancy was granted 31,667.54 euros.

Strategic Investment Insights

In light of recent events, potential investors may want to consider watching actions of larger tech companies like Qualcomm amidst legal and regulatory disputes. Global commercial litigation and its influence on financial stability could provide insight into investment risks and opportunities. Actions of regulatory bodies, such as the European Commission, also shape markets directly or indirectly and can profoundly impact potential investment strategies.

The case is T‑235/18 DEP Qualcomm vs European Commission.

($1 = 0.9228 euros)


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