Qualcomm files countersuit in a rebuttal to Apple’s billion-dollar lawsuit over patent licensing

By : |April 12, 2017 0

Apple filed a billion dollar lawsuit against American chipmaker Qualcomm this January for over-charging them for the use of patents. That was followed up by two additional suits, one in China and one in the United Kingdom that also focused on patents and designs. After maintaining silence for over two months, the chipmaker has now countersued Cupertino giant alleging their lawsuit to be invalid, noting that Apple itself is at fault against Qualcomm.

In its Answers and Counterclaims to Apple’s January lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, Qualcomm details the value of the technologies Qualcomm has invented, contributed and shared with the industry through its licensing program, as well as Apple’s failure to engage in good faith negotiations for a license to Qualcomm’s 3G and 4G standard essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.

Chipmaker’s countersuit basically highlights five key complaints against Apple, chief being Apple’s decision to “not to utilize certain high-performance features of the Qualcomm chipsets for the iPhone 7”, arguably holding the devices back from out-competing their Intel counterparts, also used in the iPhone 7. Notably, the iPhone 7 marks the first time in several years that Qualcomm chips are not found in all iPhone variants. “Apple falsely claimed that there was ‘no discernible difference’,” iterates Qualcomm’s court documentation, hiding “the extent to which iPhones with Qualcomm’s chipsets outperformed iPhones with Intel’s chipsets”.

Other complaints in the countersuit include claims that Apple breached and mischaracterized agreements and negotiations with Qualcomm, encouraged attacks on the company in a number of markets by misrepresenting facts and making false statements, and interfered with Qualcomm’s existing agreements with other companies. “It(Apple) has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, said in a statement.

Apple’s original suit against Qualcomm was filed in January this year in the United States. According to Apple, Qualcomm is charging licensing royalties for technologies that they did not create, license out, or otherwise had a hand in. On top of that, the suit alleges that Qualcomm is proportionally charging Apple far more than it charges other licensees; three to four percent of each manufactured iPhone’s bill of materials, to be exact, which they allege is up to nine times what other Qualcomm licensees are paying.

Apple’s lawsuit came on the heels of Federal Trade Commission’s own litigation against the chipmaker. The FTC is also aggrieved at Qualcomm’s use of its patents: specifically, how it wouldn’t sell modems to companies who didn’t also agree to pay royalties on phones that didn’t use Qualcomm modems.

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