In the latest chapter of Qualcomm and Apple’s ongoing legal tussle, the chipset manufacturer has filed patent lawsuits in China that aim to ban the manufacturing and sale of iPhones in the country.
The suits were filed in a Beijing intellectual property court claiming patent infringement, a Qualcomm spokesperson told Bloomberg, adding: “Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them.”
The ongoing dispute between Apple and Qualcomm rests on patent licensing. The chipset manufacturer owns patents on a broad variety of technologies that are necessary to the creation of a modern smartphone. To use those patents, Qualcomm charges licensing fees, which account for most of the company’s profits.
The patent suits Qualcomm has filed come at a difficult time for Apple, which is in the process of ramping up production on its new iPhone 8 and iPhone X models before the holiday season.
The legal battle includes a plethora of suits and countersuits. Earlier this year, Apple filed an antitrust suit against Qualcomm that argued the chipset maker’s patent licensing practices were unfair.
Soon after, Apple cut off licensing payments to Qualcomm — which analysts estimate at a loss of $2 billion per year — forcing Qualcomm to lower earnings forecasts.
“Qualcomm’s demands are unreasonable and they have been charging higher rates based on our innovation, not their own,” Apple stated at the time.
Qualcomm then countered with a patent suit, arguing that Apple encouraged regulators in various markets to take action against it based on false testimony. It also filed a suit against four Apple contract manufacturers for failing to pay royalties on licensed agreements.
Qualcomm was recently fined NT$23.4 billion (about $970 million CAD) by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission, but is appealing the decision.