Qualcomm files new patent infringement complaints against Apple

The three new complaints assert a total of 16 additional patents that Apple is currently using in its iPhones.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

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The countersuits are flying again in the never-ending legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm.

In the latest development, Qualcomm filed three new patent infringement complaints against Apple in a US District Court, asserting a total of 16 additional patents that Apple is currently using in its iPhones.

The patent complaints range from power-management technologies to autofocus cameras. Five of the patents are also included in a new complaint filed in the International Trade Commission. Like the patents Qualcomm asserted at the ITC in July, all of the additional 16 patents are non-standards essential patents implemented outside of the modem.

According to Qualcomm, Apple is using each of these patents in its devices without paying for them.

"Apple is the quintessential example of a company engaging in patent hold-out, and has repeatedly pursued a patent hold-out strategy using its enormous financial resources to harm innovators of technologies it uses," Qualcomm said in a legal filing. The chipmaker declined to comment beyond the filings.

The legal battle between the two tech titans has raged since January, when Apple filed a suit against Qualcomm accusing the semiconductor giant of overcharging for chips and withholding nearly $1 billion in contractual rebate payments. Apple's suit also claimed that Qualcomm created an "abusive licensing model" that enabled the company to demand excessive royalties.

In June, Apple filed a brief to its original lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of "double-dipping" by charging a patent license fee for the use of its technology and another fee for the chip itself.

Qualcomm then filed a complaint with the ITC asking it to bar the import of some iPhones and other products into the US. That complaint was tied to Apple's decision to withhold royalty payments to contract manufacturers until the legal dispute with Qualcomm was resolved -- which led to another counter suit filed by Apple's suppliers. In that suite, Qualcomm was accused of violating two sections of the Sherman Act, a landmark US antitrust law.

Qualcomm eventually convinced the ITC to open a probe into whether the importation of the iPhone 7, along with various device components like baseband processor modems, violates the Tariff Act of 1930.

In November, Qualcomm sued Apple again, asserting that Apple shared proprietary source code with rival Intel. A decision by the ITC could lead to a ban on iPhones using Intel chips from being imported into the US.


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