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Imagination tests multitasking skills of Apple lawyers

Courtroom scene

Apple is set to test out the resilience and multi-tasking abilities of its lawyers as it prepares to tackle Imagination in yet another patent dispute.

Aside from a very public falling out with Qualcomm which has been escalated to trade authorities, the Imagination complications has been bubbling along in the background, with the saga set to escalate to a full-on quarrel in the courts in the near future. Apple doesn’t seem to be scared about fighting multiple legal battles simultaneously.

“Imagination has been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple to date regarding alternative commercial arrangements for the current licence and royalty agreement,” the company said in a statement.

“Imagination has therefore commenced the dispute resolution procedure under the licence agreement with a view to reaching an agreement through a more structured process.”

Apple took the bold step in April of declaring the end of the relationship between the two firms, believing it was capable of developing its own graphic chips in-house. Imagination contests where the iLeader has the ability to do this without infringing its patents, and has seemingly spent the last couple of weeks attempting to negotiate an alternative commercial arrangement based on licensing fees. Considering Imagination are now escalating the issue, the talks clearly didn’t go to plan.

Imagination has been working with Apple for a considerable time now, designing graphics chipsets for the iPhone and iPad. Losing customers is just a part of life, but considering Apple represents roughly half of Imagination revenues, this is one you would want to keep hold of.

In fairness, Imagination does have a point. Developing technologies of this nature takes years. Even if Apple thinks it is a bad idea to be so heavily reliant on a third-party for such a critical part of the product, surely it would take longer than the 15 months to develop the expertise and technology?

While this could be a disturbing turn for the business, Imagination is not sitting on its hands. In the same statement, it declared its PowerVR business was going from strength to strength, targeting on of the most lucrative sectors in the connected economy.

Growth in the VR world is an encouraging sign, however you do feel there needs to be some positive news to come out of the Apple conflict. It’s a company which accounts for a substantial amount of annual revenues, and following the initial departure announcement, shares in Imagination slumped 60%, showing little sign of recovery since. It could quickly develop into a life of death situation.


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