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The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple continues to escalate, with Qualcomm asking the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to block imports of select iPhone and iPad models, reports Fortune. Qualcomm also wants to stop sales of devices that are already in the United States and has filed a new patent infringement case against Apple in the Southern District of California.

According to Qualcomm, Apple is infringing on six Qualcomm patents related to carrier aggregation and technologies that are designed to allow iPhones to save battery life while communicating. The six patents cited by Qualcomm were granted between 2013 and 2017 and are not licensed or standard-essential patents that are part of the ongoing Qualcomm v. Apple battle over royalty payments.

qualcomm-iphone-7-800x374.jpg

Qualcomm is asking the ITC to block all iPhones that are equipped with LTE chips from competing mobile communications companies, which would include AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models equipped with Intel chips, along with some iPad models. In an interview, Qualcomm lawyer Don Rosenberg said Qualcomm is pursuing another lawsuit and an import ban because Apple is not willing to pay for the technology it uses.
"If Apple was a willing licensee and Apple was someone who was, like everybody else, willing to pay for what they use, we wouldn't be suing them on these patents," Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel, said in an interview. "But they're not, and we felt we were put in a position, given all the lawsuits they've brought against us around the world, of not simply having to defend ourselves but having to take some affirmative action ourselves."
As noted in Qualcomm's ITC request, a possible ban on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and future iPhones wouldn't happen for approximately 18 months, so it would not affect the devices Apple plans to release in September of 2017. Qualcomm expects the ITC to look into the complaint in August and schedule a trial for 2018, and it believes the new patent infringement case filed today could be put on hold until the ITC makes a decision on the import ban.

The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm kicked off in January, when the FTC complained that Qualcomm had engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices. Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion shortly after, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and refusing to pay quarterly rebates.

Qualcomm countersued in April, accusing Apple of breaching licensing agreements, making false statements, and encouraging regulatory attacks against Qualcomm, which prompted Apple to stop making royalty payments to Qualcomm entirely until a court can determine the proper amount due.

Since then, the two companies have been fighting a bitter public battle. Apple in late June expanded its lawsuit against Qualcomm and accused the wireless chipmaker of "double-dipping" with unfair patent licensing agreements. According to Apple, Qualcomm has overcharged it by billions of dollars, while Qualcomm says its innovations are "at the heart of every iPhone."

Alongside its dispute with Apple, Qualcomm is also now facing an FTC lawsuit for using anticompetitive tactics to remain the dominant supplier of baseband processors for smartphones.

Article Link: Qualcomm Seeks iPhone and iPad Import Ban in the United States
 

AppleFan91

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Sep 11, 2012
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I'll preface my question with "I don't pay much attention to this or have much knowledge about it" but:

Does this seem like Qualcomm is trying to get anything they can before Apple makes the full switch to Intel in the US as carriers migrate fully to LTE and away from CDMA?
 
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Strelok

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Jun 6, 2017
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I'll preface my question with "I don't pay much attention to this or have much knowledge about it" but:

Does this seem like Qualcomm is trying to get anything they can before Apple makes the full switch to Intel in the US as carriers migrate fully to LTE?

Based on what I’ve read, when Apple first made the deals with Qualcomm it was based on a percentage of the iPhone cost/sale. Now Qualcomm basically has a monopoly on the market and are constrained by some fair use laws, which Apple says they are breaking. Apple doesn’t want to pay Qualcomm as much for each iPhone anymore because Qualcomm is basically getting free money for apples work (apples argument).
 
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jack5150

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May 1, 2017
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interesting wrinkle re frand. from bloomberg's ian king and susan decker:

"The technology covered by the six patents in the new complaint isn’t related to any industry standard, meaning there’s no limit on how much Qualcomm could demand in royalties and no legal argument over whether the rates are reasonable."

source: https://bloom.bg/2uPBx4g
 
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Zarniwoop

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Aug 12, 2009
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This is just one of the several tools companies have. Business as usual in tech industry. Because the rules are pretty vague, they need to be set in the court room. Apple said we don't pay anymore of your tech. We don't need to. Qualcomm disagrees. So, in front of the judge... or most likely, outside the court room, there will be a settlement where money changes an owner and life continues.
 
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truthertech

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Jun 24, 2016
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I don't believe that's what this is truly about. It seems it's more of Qualcomm saying that they should get more from Apple because they enable the iPhone to do X amount of things by extension of their products being in them.


Actually, Qualcomm isn't and can't say that because it would be an admission that they are in violation of FRAND, with the ND being non-discriminitory for those patents that are considered essential. One of Apple's central arguments is that they are being charged more for the same technology because Qualcomm is charging based on price of phone, which means every time Apple develops or adds something new, e.g., OLED screen, to a phone, Qualcomm gets paid more. The other argument that has Qualcomm wetting its pants is the double-dipping argument. Based on the recent Supreme Court decision with Lexmark printers that, in essence, says you can't charge for the equipment and then demand a license to use it (Lexmark wanted to prevent companies/customers from refilling their used cartridges and the Court said license for customers went along with purchase), it has to be one or the other. Qualcomm has been doing exactly that and a fair reading of the Lexmark case is that Qualcomm has overcharged Apple and others billions of dollars and the license to use their chips should be inherent in the purchase of the chips. If the courts agree with Apple, Qualcomm will be decimated. These lawsuits by Qualcomm are merely trying, perhaps futilely, to gain some leverage by putting issues on the table to negotiate their way out of the quagmire they are in. Keep in mind they are being sued by other companies and by more than one government.
 
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TeamMojo

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Feb 3, 2004
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Good luck Qualcomm. The average consumer has no idea about what goes in to the iPhone and only cares about getting the iPhone itself. A bunch of negative publicity in the eyes of consumers could mean that in the future consumers recognize the Qualcomm brand and steer clear of devices with their ICs.
 
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tooltalk

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Jan 15, 2015
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Based on what I’ve read, when Apple first made the deals with Qualcomm it was based on a percentage of the iPhone cost/sale. Now Qualcomm basically has a monopoly on the market and are constrained by some fair use laws, which Apple says they are breaking. Apple doesn’t want to pay Qualcomm as much for each iPhone anymore because Qualcomm is basically getting free money for apples work (apples argument).

It's a fairly standard industry wide practice to use the end-user device as a royalty basis. Apple has no direct licensing with Qualcomm -- Apple's suppliers pay Qualcomm based on their manufacturing, not retail price. Yes, some aspects of Qualcomm's licensing practices are quite illegal/anti-competitive and KFTC fined them $800+M last years, but IMO Apple's arguments are weak. Their lawyers are essentially throwing the whole kitchen sink to see what sticks -- after all, it's their job to cover all the bases. I'm inclined to believe that Apple is just being opportunistic and trying to squeeze their supplier.
 
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fmillion

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Jun 16, 2011
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I'm confused.

"Qualcomm is asking the ITC to block all iPhones that are equipped with LTE chips from competing mobile communications companies, which would include AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models equipped with Intel chips, along with some iPad models."
Qualcomm wants to ban anything except phones containing its chips? So the iPhone is allowed to be imported, as long as Apple uses Qualcomm's chips?

This doesn't sound like a royalty payment or a patent issue. It sounds like Qualcomm is upset that Apple can second-source the chips they need from Intel. The article doesn't seem to say that Apple is refusing to pay for use of Qualcomm chips; it seems to say that Qualcomm wants Apple to source their chips only from Qualcomm and pay the accompanying royalties.

If Intel made chips that enable the same features that Qualcomm has, shouldn't Qualcomm be going after Intel? If Intel produced compatible chips, shouldn't Intel pay Qualcomm royalties? If so, does Qualcomm get to double-dip and extract royalties from everyone who implements the competing chips as well?

Don't get me wrong, not defending either side here, Apple has done their fair share of deceptive and questionable business practices. Just trying to understand the specifics of this one.
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
I'll preface my question with "I don't pay much attention to this or have much knowledge about it" but:

Does this seem like Qualcomm is trying to get anything they can before Apple makes the full switch to Intel in the US as carriers migrate fully to LTE and away from CDMA?

Qualcomm did a lot of LTE development as well.

Btw, note that CDMA radios are also used by GSM UMTS-3G. In other words, as long as there are 3G radios anywhere in the world, Qualcomm gets a royalty.

Apple got whipped once before in USTIC -- then it went to Obama crying for help (reversal of import ban). I don't think Trump is anything like the Clinton's or Obama.

Yes, two big differences from the last time Apple got a ban. One is a different president, who happens to have clashed with Apple already. The other is that these are not standards essential patents.
 
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kemal

macrumors 68000
Dec 21, 2001
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Invent something. Put it in a chip. Charge a boat load for the chip and be done with it.
 
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joueboy

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Jul 3, 2008
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Apple should just pay up or develop their own technology.
My initial understanding of the original case is that Apple is just buying the chips. The manufacturer paid the dues already but Qualcomm wants more money. Assuming you want to build your own car or just fix your own car. You need a power steering from a manufacturer or autoparts store. You should not be paying anymore fees from whoever owns the patent. The car parts manufacturer should have just paid their dues already. Obviously the case has been more complicated. And Qualcomm filed additional cases against Apple. This battle is going to be like Samsung it never ends.
 
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TheTruth101

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Mar 15, 2017
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Why not collecting all the iPhones already sold? They could ask the government to stop everybody in the street and check pints in the highway. I mean... this is serious bro.
 
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