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UPDATE 1-U.S. Justice Department asks for hearing in Qualcomm antitrust case

Stephen Nellis

(Adds background on case, comment requests)

May 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Thursday to hold a hearing on any possible remedies to be imposed if mobile chip supplier Qualcomm Inc is found liable in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC took Qualcomm to trial in January and is awaiting a decision in federal court in California.

The Justice Department's filing asked Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California to hold a hearing on any possible remedies if she finds Qualcomm liable for antitrust violations and argued that "a remedy should work as little injury as possible to other public policies," according to the filing.

"(T)here is a plausible prospect that an overly broad remedy in this case could reduce competition and innovation in markets for 5G technology and downstream applications that rely on that technology," the Justice Department wrote. "Such an outcome could exceed the appropriate scope of an equitable antitrust remedy. Moreover, it has the distinct potential to harm rather than help competition."

Qualcomm and the Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

The FTC sued Qualcomm more than two years ago over allegations the company used anticompetitive patent licensing practices to maintain a monopoly on some so-called modem chips that connect smartphones to wireless data networks.

The claims in the case mirrored similar antitrust claims made by iPhone maker Apple Inc. The two sides settled during opening arguments at the trial between Apple and Qualcomm. (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)