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Tech Wars and the Conflict of Public Interests

Cite as: 5 GEO. L. TECH. REV. 62 (2021)

The U.S. government has waged “tech wars” against companies under the banner of national security. But is consumer welfare being sacrificed to win these wars? This Article offers an in-depth study of the emerging conflict between two public interests—consumer welfare and national security—in the context of antitrust law. It considers the ramifications of the patent abuse case, FTC v. Qualcomm, which sheds light on the nature and scope of these two public interests as they are implicated in tech wars. This Article also proposes application of a strict scrutiny standard to address the conflict between national security and consumer welfare in the Qualcomm case and in tech wars more broadly.

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Haochen Sun & Peter Wat

Haochen Sun: Associate Professor of Law, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law. We are grateful to Anupam Chander and Anna Wu for their helpful conversations and comments.

Peter Wat: Trainee solicitor at MinterEllison LLP, Hong Kong. All opinions expressed belong to the author alone and should not be taken as legal advice.