Qualcomm bites back at Apple over unfair licensing lawsuit

JC Torres - Apr 11, 2017, 3:15am CDT
Qualcomm bites back at Apple over unfair licensing lawsuit

Qualcomm is probably the largest maker of mobile processors in the market, which pretty much means it has a large target painted on its back. It isn’t a stranger to lawsuits, even those brought against it by government. But when Apple joined the fray, it took on a slightly different story. Last January, Apple sued Qualcomm for, among other things, unfair licensing costs and retaliation. Now Qualcomm is fighting back with claims of its own, saying that Apple was, in fact, the one using shady tactics to harm Qualcomm’s business.

Part of Apple’s January lawsuit is something some readers might be familiar with. According to the iPhone maker, Qualcomm has been trying to squeeze out every dime it could for royalties, even for technologies it barely had anything to do with. Every little thing that could be tied back to its IP, particularly the modem chips in older iPhones, would be grounds for Qualcomm to collect.

The other part of the lawsuit, however, is perhaps more interesting. Apple claims that Qualcomm owes it nearly $1 billion in royalty rebates but the chip maker has refused to pay it. It’s reason? Supposedly because Apple testified against Qualcomm when the South Korean government sued to latter for unfair business practices. Qualcomm lost that case and was fined roughly $853 million.

It has taken Qualcomm three months to file its answer and, unsurprisingly, it comes with a counterclaim of its own. Qualcomm points the finger at Apple, claiming that it is Apple that is covertly trying to undermine Qualcomm’s business by either misrepresenting its business or misrepresenting the performance of Qualcomm’s LTE modems.

It’s a classic “he said, she said” back and forth lawsuit, but one with larger than life actors on stage. Qualcomm is, of course, seeking damages from Apple. But it also wants the courts to keep Apple from interfering with Qualcomm’s agreements with the companies that make the iPhone and the iPad, which is exactly what Apple is complaining about in the first place.


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