iPhone Manufacturers Join Apple in Legal Counter Against Qualcomm

The hits just keep coming in the battle between Apple and iPhone chip supplier Qualcomm as a group of four Asian companies that assemble products for Apple have accused Qualcomm of antitrust violations.

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, four contractors that build iPhones and other Apple products say Qualcomm violated two sections of the U.S. Sherman Antitrust Act.

The contractors — Foxconn parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, Wistron, Compal Electronics and Pegatron — made their claims in a filing late Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The contractors say Qualcomm violated the Sherman Act when it sued them in May in order to make the companies pay license fees to Qualcomm.

“Qualcomm has confirmed publicly that this lawsuit against our clients is intended to make a point about Apple and punish our clients for working with Apple,” Theodore J. Boutrous, a lawyer for the four companies, said in a statement. “The companies are bringing their own claims and defenses against Qualcomm.”

Additionally, Wednesday morning Qualcomm said it had sued Apple in German courts in Munich and Mannheim, and was seeking a block on the sale and import of the iPhone into one of Europe’s largest markets.

“Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm. “Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies and cellular standards.”

Earlier this week, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf expressed optimism that the fight with Apple will end in an out-of-court settlement. The firm will still have to deal with a separate U.S. Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, however, which while predating Apple’s action has similar claims.

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