EU Regulators to Pay Qualcomm 785,857.54 EUR of Legal Fees After Antitrust Fine Appeal.

 The General Court in Luxembourg has ruled that EU regulators must pay 785,857.54 euros of legal fees for Qualcomm, significantly less than the 12 million euros initially sought by the U.S.

The recent ruling by Europe’s second highest court has determined that EU regulators are required to pay 785,857.54 euros of legal fees for Qualcomm, a fraction of the 12 million euros initially sought by the U.S. chipmaker following a successful appeal against an antitrust fine. The General Court in Luxembourg found Qualcomm’s requested fees to be “manifestly excessive,” emphasizing the importance of substantiating claims with specific tasks and hourly rates. The court highlighted that the total hours of work necessary for legal proceedings are crucial, regardless of the number of lawyers involved.

Qualcomm submitted its legal bill to the European Commission in 2022 after the General Court supported the U.S. group’s challenge against a 997 million euro EU antitrust fine issued in 2018, leading to the regulator being instructed to cover Qualcomm’s legal costs. Despite Qualcomm justifying its legal bill based on the case’s complexity and the extensive work done by a team of 19, the Commission disputed the amount, proposing a significantly lower sum of 405,315 euros.

In a ruling dated Feb. 29, judges dismissed Qualcomm’s arguments, stating that hourly rates were not clearly linked to specific tasks and that the evidence presented did not sufficiently support the sums claimed. The court emphasized that the applicant’s request was inadequately substantiated and excessively high in terms of both amounts claimed and hours worked. Consequently, the court set the total fee, including expenses for law firm Quinn Emanuel at 754,190 euros and 31,667.54 euros for economic consultancy Compass Lexecon/FTI.

This case sheds light on the meticulous scrutiny applied by courts when assessing legal fees and emphasizes the need for clear substantiation and justification in such matters to ensure fairness and accuracy in fee awards.

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