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Apple files countersuit against Qualcomm… again

Judge pronouncing sentence to man

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks for Qualcomm and Apple, so we really should have expected another chapter in the courtroom tale. This time Apple is suing Qualcomm for patent infringement.

In the latest installment of the saga, Apple has filed a countersuit against Qualcomm claiming the Snapdragon mobile phone chips infringe on Apple’s patents, according to Reuters. More specifically, Apple believes it owns several battery life patents which Qualcomm has incorporated into the Snapdragon design, which is then being used to power the devices of Apple’s competitor’s devices.

This is of course a countersuit, dating back to a lawsuit Qualcomm filed against Apple on exactly the same grounds. Apple denied it infringed any of Qualcomm’s patent, with the countersuit claiming the patents were invalid in the first place. It’s all very complicated, but this is common practice in the courts; deny a claim and then put forward a paper trail which proves there was no basis for the claim in the first place.

The patents actually involve more efficient use of a phones battery. The processor only draws the minimum amount of power from the battery that an application or function of the phone needs, and is then powered down when it is not needed. It is a pretty common feature across devices nowadays, but the question is who gets paid for patenting the idea?

This is of course just the latest skirmish in a larger legal battle between the two, which doesn’t look like it is going to end any time soon. We’re going to try and give as much detail about the wider battle as possible now, but because there are so many fights going on at once, you’ll have to forgive us if we miss one.

January: Apple sues Qualcomm for withholding almost $1 billion in payments it says it is owed. Qualcomm accuses Apple of providing false information to regulators and then files a countersuit. This case is still in the courts.

April: Qualcomm sues Apple accusing the company of inhibiting performance to make Intel look better.

May: Qualcomm sues Apple claiming the iBoss choked its supply chain, forcing its manufacturers to withhold payments from the chipmaker. The manufacturers decided to get in on the act, and filed a countersuit against Qualcomm. This case is also still in the courts.

June: Apple filed a lawsuit which essentially questioned the legality of Qualcomm’s business model. The iLeader argues that license agreements that secure Qualcomm a fee for every iPhone manufactured are invalid. This case also continues.

July: Qualcomm sues Apple for patent infringement and asks the International Trade Commission in the US to ban the import of some Apple devices. The ITC is continuing its investigation currently.

October: Qualcomm files a lawsuit at a Beijing intellectual property court attempting to have the iPhone banned from being imported into China, once again claiming patent infringement. This case is also still in the courts.

Aside from these disputes, Qualcomm has also found itself locking horns with Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission, Intel on the grounds of competition and the European Commission for monopolistic activities. Samsung and Intel also filed amicus briefs backing the FTC’s complaints against Qualcomm, while it was also forced to refund Blackberry $815 million owing to royalties the Canadian smartphone maker overpaid between 2010 and 2015.

If we have missed anything out feel free to drop us through an email, but there only seems to be one question left. How many lawyers does Qualcomm actually have!?


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