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Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Stealing Trade Secrets to Improve Intel Chips: REPORT

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Qualcomm has amended its 2017 lawsuit against Apple, adding allegations that the iPhone maker stole confidential data about its modem chips and gave it to Intel.

A new report from CNBC explains that Qualcomm now claims Apple stole “vast swaths” of its confidential intellectual property, then provided it to rival Intel to improve the performance of Intel’s competing chips.

According to a complaint filed Monday with the Superior Court of California, Apple is accused of giving Intel engineers confidential information, including Qualcomm source code and log files, in order to overcome flaws in Intel chips used in iPhones.

Although discovery is ongoing, it is clear that Apple’s conduct went far beyond simply breaching the contract originally sued on. Indeed, it is now apparent Apple engaged in a years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge designed to steal Qualcomm’s confidential information and trade secrets for the purpose of improving the performance of lower-quality modem chipsets, with the ultimate goal of eliminating Qualcomm’s Apple-based business.

According to Qualcomm, the proof it has that Apple supplied Intel with Qualcomm’s trade secrets is in unearthed correspondence between the two companies as well as historical source code edits. However, Qualcomm did not provide these proofs to the public, and likely won’t unless the case goes to trial.

This accusation against Apple is the latest in a series of disputes between the two companies since last year. Apple originally refused to pay Qualcomm royalties for chips used in earlier iPhones, and this has led to a spiral of back and forths ever since.

Qualcomm declined to comment but told CNBC the case would have been filed regardless of its ongoing litigation with Apple.

“Unlawful use of Qualcomm’s valuable trade secrets to try to help a competitor catch up irreparably harms us and must not be allowed to continue,” said Donald Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel.

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