Qualcomm is a US-based technology company which manufactures LTE baseband chipsets found in many smartphones. Its chipsets enable smartphones and tablets to connect to mobile networks.

Qualcomm also owns a number of patents including some that are considered to be ‘essential’ for your phone to use 4G (so-called “standard essential patents”).

Which? believes Qualcomm is abusing its position and employing an anticompetitive strategy that is in breach of competition law.

Which? believes Qualcomm employs two harmful and unlawful practices:

  1. It refuses to license its patents to other competing chipset manufacturers and,
  2. it refuses to supply chipsets to smartphone manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, unless those companies obtain a separate licence and pay substantial royalties to Qualcomm.

Together, these abuses enable Qualcomm to charge Apple and Samsung higher fees for the licences for its patents, than would be the case if Qualcomm behaved lawfully. Which? believes that Qualcomm is using its market power to obtain an unlawfully gained advantage in its negotiations with manufacturers which enable it to insist on charging artificially high fees for its patents.

Qualcomm also insists that it is paid fees by smartphone manufacturers even when they don’t use Qualcomm chipsets in their smartphones and use another chipset instead. That raises the manufacturing costs of all smartphones, which are ultimately passed on to consumers, meaning that consumers have paid more for smartphones than they should have done.

Collective proceedings are a form of litigation that is conducted by a representative on behalf of a large number (a class) of individuals or businesses. You might have heard this type of case referred to as a “class action”.

Collective proceedings can be brought on an ‘opt-in’ basis, where members of the class must choose to join and be part of the claim. They can also be brought on an ‘opt-out’ basis, where members of the class are automatically included in the claim unless they decide not to be. Class members do not need to be individually identified, nor do they need to do anything to be included in the proceedings.

This claim is being brought on an ‘opt-out’ basis, meaning that UK-domiciled consumers who fall within the class definition are automatically included unless they decide they do not want to be involved.

Any consumers who are domiciled outside the UK, but who otherwise fall into the class definition, will need to opt-in to the proceedings. Further information on opting in will be made available if/when the Tribunal authorises the claim to proceed.

Which? is the UK’s largest independent, non-profit consumer advocacy organisation. Which? has been championing consumers’ rights for more than 60 years by testing products, publishing product reviews and pushing companies to improve their standards and practices.

For more information, check out Which?’s website www.which.co.uk.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal is a specialist court that hears competition law cases, including collective proceedings.

The Tribunal publishes its Rules and Guidance, together with information about what it does and details of its on-going cases, on its website www.catribunal.org.uk.

A person wishing to bring collective proceedings as a class representative must first get permission from the Competition Appeal Tribunal for the claim to proceed. This is known as ‘certification’ or obtaining a collective proceedings order (‘CPO’). Based on similar cases before the Tribunal, we estimate that the certification hearing may take place towards the end of 2021. Once a CPO has been obtained, the claim proceeds to trial.

Because of the litigation funding arrangements that have been put in place, the claim will not cost class members anything, whatever the outcome.

Which? is a non-profit organisation and as such cannot fund a claim of this size by itself. Which? is working with a litigation funder, Augusta Ventures, to bring the claim.

Which? has obtained insurance to cover Qualcomm’s legal costs, in the event that the claim is unsuccessful.

At the time of filing the Claim, we estimated that there are around 29 million people in the UK who may be eligible to receive money back if the claim against Qualcomm succeeds.

You are likely to be a member of the proposed class for this claim if, since 1 October 2015, you purchased a new version of one of the models of Apple or Samsung smartphones listed here, in the UK, for your personal use. Please click here to see the full class definition.

You will not be able to claim if you bought the smartphone wholly for your business, trade or profession, if the smartphone was refurbished or purchased ‘second-hand’, or if you are in the list of excluded persons (available here). You can claim for smartphones that you may have bought for relatives (including children under 16) or which you bought as a gift for others for their personal use.

Which? intends to amend the proposed class to include the representatives of consumers who would have qualified as a class member but who died between the purchase of the smartphone and the date of final judgment or earlier settlement of the claim.

Check out our eligibility tool here to see if you likely qualify.

Yes, it is possible for you (even if you do not think you will be a member of the Proposed Class) to object to the collective action or to Which? being authorised as the Proposed Class Representative, by writing to the Tribunal and stating your reasons for objection by 4pm on 7 January 2022. You may also request permission from the Tribunal to make oral observations at the hearing of the CPO Application (even if you do not think you will be a member of the Proposed Class), by including such a request as part of your written objections. Further information is contained in the CPO Application Notice.

At this stage, you don’t have to do anything. If the proposed class is certified, and you are currently domiciled in the UK, you will be automatically included if you are eligible. If you are domiciled outside of the UK, then you will need to notify us that you want to opt-in at the appropriate time.

Signing up here for updates will help us keep you informed of the progress of the claim.

At this stage, you don’t have to do anything. If the proposed class is certified, and you are currently domiciled in the UK, you will be automatically included if you are eligible. If you are domiciled outside of the UK, then you will need to notify us that you want to opt-in at the appropriate time.

Signing up here for updates will help us keep you informed of the progress of the claim.

We currently estimate that consumers may be due between £5 and £30 each.

This amount may increase or decrease depending on the model of smartphone you purchased, and how many smartphones you have purchased since 1 October 2015.

Check out our eligibility tool here.

There is no guarantee that you will get any money – first, the case has to be won, or a settlement agreed.

You will be included in the claim if you satisfy the class definition, which will be set by the Tribunal. Which? has asked the Tribunal to include consumers who purchased smartphones directly from manufacturers (Apple or Samsung), via a mobile network operator (such as Vodafone, EE or O2) or through a retail store (such as Carphone Warehouse) in the claim. The claim also covers smartphones bought as part of a smartphone plan or on credit. The claim covers all Apple and Samsung phone models bought in the UK, whether purchased in-store or online or over the phone, provided the handset was delivered to an address in the UK.

You can claim for smartphones that you may have bought for relatives (including children under 16) or which you bought as a gift for others for their personal use.

If you received a smartphone as a gift, you will not be included in the claim.

The claim is being run as an ‘opt-out’ collective action in the Competition Appeal Tribunal. This means that Which?, as class representative, brings the claim on behalf of a defined group of people who are automatically part of the class if they fit the class definition. Class members do not have to sign-up to be part of the claim.

Unless you follow the steps required to ‘opt-out’, and exclude yourself from these proceedings, you will be automatically included in the claim if you are domiciled in the UK and meet the conditions for inclusion in the class. Details of how to opt-out will be made available on this website in due course.

The best way to stay up to date on the progress of the claim is by signing up to our emails here.

This website will also be regularly updated as the claim progresses.

No money is available now and there is no guarantee that money will be available in the future – the case must first be won in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, unless an earlier settlement is agreed.

However, if the claim is successful, information will be made available on this website as to how you can apply for your payment.

It is sensible to keep any product information leaflets, invoices, receipts, credit card statements or direct debit statements or other proof of purchase of your smartphone as well as copies of any mobile phone contracts or hire purchase or loan arrangements. We will provide a further update here when the Tribunal has decided what documents are needed.

This claim relates to Apple and Samsung smartphones. It is possible that owners of other types of phones have also paid too much due to Qualcomm’s behaviour, but at this stage we are focusing on ensuring that owners of the two most popular brands of phones in the country are awarded damages.

Ultimately, Qualcomm could decide to compensate other phone owners too, if it admits that it has done the wrong thing and tries to make amends.

If you purchased your smartphone second-hand or refurbished, you do not fall within the scope of the proposed class.

Similar class actions are being brought against Qualcomm in the United States and Canada.

We are also aware of a number of competition authorities worldwide having investigated and, in some instances, fined Qualcomm for anticompetitive behaviour including the European Commission and authorities in South Korea and Taiwan. Some of these fines have been overturned on appeal, and some continue to be litigated.

We have established a dedicated email account, info@smartphoneclaim.co.uk, through which we will send out periodic updates on the claim. Any email you receive from that account is safe to open, unless stipulated otherwise on this website.

The email inbox is regularly monitored, but please note that we are unable to respond to emails concerning questions of eligibility at this time. If you are wondering whether you may be eligible for inclusion in the claim, please use the Eligibility Tool here.

Am I part of the class of consumers that Which?
is seeking to represent in this claim?

Use our eligibility tool to find out if you might be eligible to be part of the proposed class.

Unfortunately, based on the information you’ve provided, you’re not likely to be part of the proposed class.

Register here to receive updates on the claim.

You are likely to be part of the class that Which? is seeking to represent in this claim.

Based on the information you’ve provided, you are likely to be automatically included as part of the class if the Competition Appeal Tribunal agrees that Which?’s claim can go forward. Register here to receive updates on the claim.

No money is available now and there is no guarantee that money will be available in the future – it depends on the outcome of the case at the Competition Appeal Tribunal









Smartphone
Smartphone displaying Which? website