Samsung kills Qualcomm ceasefire to attack Apple

The fall-out from Apple and Samsung's escalating in-court spats includes the destruction of a gentleman's agreement between Samsung and chip rival Qualcomm over 3G patents, new documents have confirmed. The 18 year long pact had seen Samsung promise not to sue Qualcomm or its customers over use of 3G patents; however, Samsung dissolved the agreement in April 2011, so that it could use those 3G patents in the ongoing IP war with Apple.

Qualcomm was notified that the deal- which had been first inked in 1993 – was terminated when Apple first filed against Samsung's Galaxy Tab slate in the US, ZDNet reports from Australian courts. "There was an agreement between Samsung and Qualcomm. That agreement was not a licence agreement" Samsung's counsel confirmed. "It contains a contractual provision that Samsung would not sue Qualcomm or customers of Qualcomm who apply [the 3G patents]."

At that point, Apple is believed to have sought independent licensing with Samsung, but the South Korean company claims that its FRAND-term "commercial rate" for use of the technology was rejected, and that Apple failed to continue taking part in negotiations. "Apple has refused to enter negotiations for the UMTS patent" Samsung's legal team argues.

Samsung is attempting to convince courts in Australia that Apple infringes on three patents in the country, covering different methods of data transmission, while Apple argues that the technology in question is included under ETSI laws. The South Korean legal team has previously attempted to secure access to Qualcomm's contracts with Apple to see exactly what coverage the iPhone maker enjoys from its customer position.

Meanwhile, Samsung itself is under investigation over its handling of FRAND licensing, with the European Commission hunting for possible antitrust behavior.