Qualcomm has been clear, if Apple does not pay royalties for using their patents then their devices should stop selling. Now as part of this long legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple, the chip maker and holder of the communication patents used in most smartphones today is taking a new step, as it is filing a new lawsuit against the Chinese authorities to block the sale and manufacture of iPhone.
China is now the most important and fastest growing market for Apple, so Qualcomm is betting on a sure hit that would significantly affect the Cupertino business. A new lawsuit adds to the current dispute between the two companies over the patent business.
The First US and now China
According to Bloomberg, Qualcomm spokeswoman Christine Trimble confirms that on September 29 the company filed a new lawsuit in China for patent infringement by Apple. This infringement refers to three patents, which the company itself does not consider essential, which encompass technologies for power management and Force Touch of the iPhone touch screens, which are owned by Qualcomm.
This demand also requires, as a precautionary measure, to ban the sale and manufacture of iPhone in China, which is the region where almost 90% of the components of the device are manufactured. And if it thrives, it would affect the delivery times of iPhone X, which right now aims not to cover reservations. The Chinese courts have not yet made public the claim and it is unknown when we could have a response to this request.
A long and painful battle
For those who do not remember, it all started in January of this year when Apple withheld $ 1 billion royalties from Qualcomm. That action was derived from a supposed retaliation that would have increased the price of the royalties applicable to Apple, this after the ones of Cupertino agreed to cooperate with the authorities in South Korea and its investigation of monopolistic practices against Qualcomm.
South Korea’s authorities fined Qualcomm $ 853 million for unfair practices, a payment still pending as the company has appealed that ruling.
While this was happening, Apple sued Qualcomm in China for an alleged violation of the country’s antitrust laws, which according to Apple, “Qualcomm has harmed the company’s interests by abusing its position as the dominant supplier of chips with connectivity technologies”.
At this point, things began to complicate, since both companies had met to try to solve the differences but without good results. This is how in May of this year, Apple completely stopped royalty payments to Qualcomm, which is estimated to be over $ 2 billion (plus the $ 1 billion still to come in 2016). While Qualcomm sued Apple for not paying for the use of those patents and demanding that the iPhone be stopped selling in the United States for infringing the use of its inventions.
A few days ago the Federal Trade Commission in Taiwan imposed a new fine of 775 million to Qualcomm for monopolistic practices.
This week we were in the offices of Qualcomm in San Diego, California, where the company brought us up to date in the legal battle with Apple confirming everything we already knew and with no surprises. Qualcomm expects the first resolutions of this series of lawsuits to reach the end of 2018 when we will see the real repair signs of this fight that could significantly affect both companies.