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Qualcomm Escalates Legal Battle With Apple, Calls for iPhone Ban

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Qualcomm has intensified its legal war with Apple, as the chipmaker has asked the US International Trade Commission to ban imports of some iPhone and iPad models from the US, on the grounds that they violate six of their patents.

According to a new report from the Financial Times, the chipmaker on Thursday asked U.S. regulators to ban the iPhone’s entry into the country, effectively attempting to eliminate Apple’s ability to sell smartphones in its biggest market.

Qualcomm says that Apple is violating six patents that have to do with extending a phone’s battery life. None of the patents are essential to a standard, Qualcomm says, which means it isn’t required to license them — as it is with the other patents the two companies are in disagreement over.

Qualcomm’s legal strategy has two aims: increase pressure on Apple to pay up, and demonstrate that the San Diego-based chipmaker still makes cutting-edge technology rather than milking old inventions, as Apple has claimed.

“They’re taking advantage of these new technologies and they’re not paying for them,” Qualcomm’s general counsel Don Rosenberg said. “We are current, we are new and we will continue to enhance the value of the experience.”

Analysts have suggested that the legal battle could cause real problems for Apple’s next generations of device. Qualcomm is easily the largest and most advanced manufacturer of baseband chips for mobile devices, and a breakdown in relations between the two companies could cause massive supply shortages for Apple. Reports have suggested that Apple is seeking other alternatives, but sourcing the necessary volume of components is something that takes years, not months.

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  • Bill___A

    I earlier read that Qualcomm’s license fee is related to the price of the phone. This is, in my opinion, wrong and the license agreement needs to be more fair. One phone with one battery, one data connection, one voice setup should be one license fee. I am on Apple’s side on this one.

  • Tim

    Sounds like a recipe for Apple to stop buying Qualcomm components as soon as its feasible.

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