In this biweekly Asia-Pacific Regulatory Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of significant recent regulatory events in the region.
* Qualcomm Inc. has filed lawsuits against Apple Inc. in China in an attempt to block the manufacturing and sale of iPhones in the country, Bloomberg News reported Oct. 13. The San Diego-based chipmaker filed the lawsuits in a Beijing intellectual property court on Sept. 29, claiming Apple infringed on three of its non-standard essential patents, which cover power management and a touch-screen technology called Force Touch that Apple uses in iPhones, the report quoted Qualcomm spokeswoman Christine Trimble as saying.
* Samsung Group heir Lee Jae-yong and his lawyers faced an appellate court in South Korea to start the appeal of the executive's five-year jail sentence, Reuters reported Oct. 12. The defense is challenging the lower court's argument that Lee's actions "implied" asking for help from former South Korean President Park Geun-hye by providing financial support for entities controlled by her confidante Choi Soon-sil.
JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA
* A Tokyo court on Oct. 6 fined advertising giant Dentsu Inc. ¥500,000 for an employee's suicide that was ruled as karoshi, or death by overwork, in a rare example of a Japanese company being held accountable for labor violations, The Nikkei said. However, the low penalty was likely to generate further debate about Japanese labor standards, according to the report.
* The U.S. Department of Justice asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s recent petition for a fresh review of part of its patent infringement case against Apple, CNET reported Oct. 5.
* Toshiba Corp. on Oct. 5 said it was hit by another foreign investor lawsuit over an inflated profits scandal that erupted two years ago. The suit seeks ¥21.8 billion, bringing the total amount of damages sought to ¥139 billion.
* The U.S. Supreme Court rejected Samsung Electronics's appeal to have its customers who filed proposed class-action lawsuits arbitrate their complaints instead, Reuters reported Oct. 2. The court upheld the ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the Samsung Group unit did not properly notify the customers of the arbitration clause, and therefore the customers were not bound by it.
* South Korea's Financial Services Commission will ban the use of initial coin offerings to raise funds, and warned that it would penalize companies that facilitate or are involved in ICOs, Reuters reported Sept. 29, citing a statement from the regulator.
* South Korean telecom regulator Korea Communications Commission announced that South Korea's handset subsidy cap, which was set at 330,000 won, was scrapped as of Oct. 1, allowing telcos to provide consumers with more subsidies if they want, The Korea Herald reported Oct. 2.
CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
* Qualcomm Inc. said Oct. 11 that it will appeal against Taiwan's decision to impose a fine worth NT$23.4 billion to the company for anticompetitive behavior.
* China's State Intellectual Property Office announced rulings on the eight patent infringement lawsuits Samsung Electronics filed against Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on Sept. 30, saying that only two are valid and one is partially valid, Newsis reported oct. 11. This makes 10 out of 16 such patent cases having been denied validity in China since 2016.
* Beijing Siwei Equity Investment Management Center, a shareholder of Le Vision Pictures, sued the Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. Beijing-controlled company over its refusal to provide accounting books, articles of association and operating information since June 2015, Yicai Global reported Oct. 11, citing Chinese website The Paper.
* China's Ministry of Commerce has greenlit HP Inc.'s acquisition of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s printer business, with conditions including HP submitting a report every six months on prices and related data and HP not buying any stakes in other A4 printer manufacturers in China, Reuters reported Oct. 6.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* The Supreme Court of India wants to set up a regulatory system that would make public transport authorities including app-based ride-hailing services such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Ola accountable for any breach of women's safety, The Asian Age reported Oct. 13.
* The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority ordered TV service operators and cable operators to block 79 unlicensed channels showing Urdu content, Propakistani reported Oct. 9.
* Tech Mahindra Ltd, an unsecured operational creditor of Reliance Communications Ltd., on Oct. 7 has filed insolvency petitions against the company and its subsidiaries Reliance Telecom Ltd. and Reliance Big TV Ltd. to recover unpaid dues worth 82 million Indian rupees.
* Tower companies have started taking action against Reliance Communications for unpaid rentals, with most even refusing to honor service-level agreements that require them to maintain the towers for over 99.5% of the time, several people close to developments told The Economic Times of India on Oct. 6.
* Ramesh Abhishek, a top official at India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said the government is considering Apple Inc.'s request for concessions for assembling iPhones in the country, according to Reuters on Oct. 5. Apple is also seeking permission to open its own retail stores in India where it currently sells iPhones through resellers.
* Eros International Plc said Oct. 3 that it has filed a lawsuit in the New York County Supreme Court against multiple individuals and entities that have shorted its stock and spread misinformation. The company is seeking "damages and injunctive relief for defamation, trade libel, civil conspiracy and tortious interference."
* Ghana's National Communications Authority, which in the week of Oct. 3 gave its conditional approval, has greenlit the merger between the local operations of Millicom's Tigo and Bharti Airtel, the Press Trust of India reported Oct. 3. The merged entity will have a 3G license and a 2G license valid until January 2024 and October 2021, respectively.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission has banned drone filming countrywide from Oct. 12 onward, Khaosod reported Oct. 15. A drone may still be flown on an ad-hoc basis if permission is granted in advance. A violation of the rule may result in 5 years of imprisonment or a fine of 100,000 Thai baht or both.
* Cambodia banned the film "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," alleging that the film portrays the Southeast Asian country in a negative light, Variety reported Oct. 13.
* Thailand's NBTC ordered the Office of the Auditor General to investigate the business status and legality of tax practices at LINE Mobile, a new branded network service operated by Dtac TriNet, Thai Post reported Oct. 12. The regulator is also concerned that LINE Mobile's storing of customer data on the Amazon Web Services cloud, based in Singapore, could put national security at risk.
* West Java's department of transportation of the Indonesian government issued a ban on the use of application-based transportation, such as GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd., Uber Technologies Inc., and Go-Jek, until an updated regulation is issued, Kompas reported Oct. 11.
* The National ICT Association of Malaysia established a new cybersecurity chapter to strengthen the country's protection against cyberattacks, Reseller Malaysia reported Oct. 3.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Oct. 12 launched a formal inquiry into the proposed merger of FOXTEL and FOX SPORTS Australia Pty. Ltd. to consider the impact of the merger on the acquisition and supply of sports content, the supply of fixed line and mobile broadband services and the supply of telecommunications services.
* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Oct. 9 announced that it will hold off on its decision concerning NBN Co. Ltd.'s proposed changes to its special access undertaking, until the company reaches an agreement with its customers on the pricing model.
* Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull secured the support of federal and state governments to establish and utilize facial recognition technology to scan passport, visa, citizenship and driver's license images for "suspects or victims of terrorism or other criminal activities", while maintaining "robust privacy safeguards," according to an Oct. 5 communiqué from the Council of Australian Governments.