Qualcomm asks ITC to block import and sale of Apple iPhone, iPad

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2017
As its legal fight with Apple intensifies, Qualcomm on Thursday said it plans to file a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking an import and sales ban on iPhone and iPad models that allegedly infringe on six patents.




The chipmaker claims Apple's handsets and tablets encroach on owned intellectual property covering advanced smartphone features like carrier aggregation, graphics processing and signal amplification, the Financial Times reports. The IP is distinct from a set of standard-essential patents at issue in the company's ongoing court battle with Apple over royalty payments.

Qualcomm plans to level the ITC complaint on Friday, and looks to obtain a "limited exclusion order" against newly built iPhone devices. In addition, the firm also seeks to halt sales of devices already within U.S. borders through a cease and desist order.

"This is a pretty straightforward case: we've got six patents that we are confident they are infringing," said Don Rosenberg, general counsel at Qualcomm. "We are obviously very concerned about the fact that Apple has unilaterally decided it doesn't have to pay for property it takes and uses."

The complaint is restricted to units using wireless modems built by Intel, meaning only a portion of iPhone 7 sales would be affected by a successful ITC action. However, since the ITC usually takes about 18 months to render a ruling, the exclusion and cease and desist orders would also affect expected next-generation handsets like "iPhone 7s" and "iPhone 8." That could be an issue if recent reports are to be believed.

In June, Asia supply chain rumors claimed 50 percent of iPhones made in 2017 will incorporate Intel modems, up from an estimated 30 percent with iPhone 7.

In concert with the ITC complaint, Qualcomm today leveled a new patent infringement lawsuit in a Southern California federal court seeking monetary damages.

"We would be happy to license these patents to a willing licensee if they wanted to negotiate with us. Apple has said they do not want to negotiate with us," Rosenberg said. "This also puts the lie to the notion that somehow our inventions were in the past. We continue to invent all the time."

The ITC complaint is the latest assault in a constantly escalating battle between Qualcomm and Apple.

Apple fired the first shot in January, claiming Qualcomm was abusing its "monopoly power" to demand high royalties and force chip buyers to license patents. The tech giant argued Qualcomm was withholding almost $1 billion in rebates in retaliation for Apple's willing participation in a South Korean antitrust investigation.

Qualcomm filed a countersuit in April and has since asked courts to force Apple contract suppliers who stopped paying royalties earlier this year to continue payments.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    They lost every single court case everywhere and have quite a shoddy legal leg to stand on.

    I see a stock and sales collapse soon and this is a Gambit before it all comes crashing.

    By the time this is all finished, Apple will bury Qualcom; they're just lucky Jobs wasn't there or it would be very very ugly.
    calimagman1979tmayericthehalfbeeanton zuykovwatto_cobralostkiwicornchipstarwarsbrian green
  • Reply 2 of 23
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 628member
    Qualcomm’s claims are belied by the fact that Apple licenses and pays for loads of IP.  Apple doesn’t need to pay every grifter who claims to have invented the 360’ circle. 
    magman1979ericthehalfbeeStrangeDaysanton zuykovwatto_cobralostkiwibrian greenstanthemancharlesatlasjude2012
  • Reply 3 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,385member
    I almost sprayed coffee out of my nose in laughter when I read the headline.

    Qualcomm is getting desperate and in my opinion, is nailing its own coffin with Apple.  After the ITC slaps Qualcomm's pie-hole shut, I hope Apple continues weaning off of Qualcomm's chips.

    Heck, if I end up having a choice between a new iPhone with Qualcomm and Intel chips, I'll go with the Intel model just out of principle now.

    My my how Qualcomm has fallen from grace.

    teknishncalianton zuykovwatto_cobramagman1979lostkiwicornchipstarwarsbrian greenbshank
  • Reply 4 of 23
    teknishnteknishn Posts: 34member
    sflocal said:
    I almost sprayed coffee out of my nose in laughter when I read the headline.

    Qualcomm is getting desperate and in my opinion, is nailing its own coffin with Apple.  After the ITC slaps Qualcomm's pie-hole shut, I hope Apple continues weaning off of Qualcomm's chips.

    Heck, if I end up having a choice between a new iPhone with Qualcomm and Intel chips, I'll go with the Intel model just out of principle now.

    My my how Qualcomm has fallen from grace.

    Im with you on the sprayed coffee.  Qualcomm has had its entire ass handed to it in every legal dispute its been in.  They're still walking funny from the check they had to write to Blackberry.... and from the looks of things, they will get destroyed by Apple as well.
    watto_cobramagman1979starwarsbrian greenstanthemanbshankjude2012
  • Reply 5 of 23
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 308member
    Just more bad PR for Qualcomm. No court will grant such equitable injunctive relief, as this is merely a money dispute where Apple has already licenses the IP in question. Qualcomm can only get money, which if they win, will make them legally whole. 


    watto_cobrastanthemanjude2012
  • Reply 6 of 23
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,759member
    Desperate times call for desperate loosing measures. Apple said Qualcomm can not charge it's IP based on which phone it goes into. To compare analogy, Tim Cook quoted ""It's somewhat like buying a sofa and you charge somebody a different price depending upon the house that it goes into," Looks like Qualcomm will slowly bleed and it's stock will start going down.
    edited July 2017 watto_cobramagman1979cornchipbrian greenbshank
  • Reply 7 of 23
    anton zuykovanton zuykov Posts: 1,031member
    wood1208 said:
    Desperate times call for desperate loosing measures.Looks like Qualcomm will slowly bleed and stock will start going down.
    I think Qualcomm don't like that position of theirs, either. Which is why they are actively trying to make that "slowly" into "very quickly" by all means possible.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,105member
    This looks like a publicity stunt by Qualcomm. 
    edited July 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    larryjw said:
    Just more bad PR for Qualcomm. No court will grant such equitable injunctive relief, as this is merely a money dispute where Apple has already licenses the IP in question. Qualcomm can only get money, which if they win, will make them legally whole. 


    This set of patent assertions is different from the SEP ones Apple is arguing royalties on. So no Apple might not be paying royalties nor even licensing the patents Qualcomm is using for the ITC filing. 
  • Reply 10 of 23
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 219member
    In the end, it really doesn't matter... "Apple and Qualcomm each have come before the trade commission in other cases. The agency in 2013 ruled against Apple in a case brought by Samsung Electronics Co. but the Obama administration vetoed a ruling that would have blocked some iPhone imports. The commission in 2007 ruled against Qualcomm in a case brought by then-rival Broadcom Corp., but an appeals court later lifted a ban on imports of some Qualcomm cellphone chips."
  • Reply 11 of 23
    slprescottslprescott Posts: 749member
    Qualcomm = Blackberry... 10 years later
    bshank
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Herbivore2Herbivore2 Posts: 362member
    This looks like a publicity stunt by Qualcomm. 
    It is actually a classic bullying tactic. The idea is to threaten irreparable harm unless the litigant drops the case. In this case, Apple's lawsuit. 

    Qualcomm should be arguing the merits of their position to a judge. If the judge takes Qualcomm's side a judgment is rendered and Apple has to pay. If, however, the finding goes against Qualcomm, they stand to lose a great deal. Samsung will immediately cease using the inferiorn Snapdragon 835 CPU in favor of its own Exynos 8895 for the North American market. 

    A number of judgments have already been entered against Qualcomm. They lost a nearly billion dollar case in China. They lost again against Blackberry again to the tune of nearly a billion dollars. They most recently were fined by the South Korean government, you guessed it, to the tune againof nearly a billion dollars. Clearly, Qualcomm's licensing and terms are considered abusive. 

    They are well aware that they will likely lose in court. And so they resort to the tactic of attempting to bully Apple in order to compel Apple to drop the lawsuit. 

    It won't happen. QCOM is going to lose again. Judges also frown heavily on such attempts at bullying the other party to submit. 

    QCOM isn't interested in publicity. They are interested in trying to force Apple to acquiesce. It would send a message to the rest of the industry that their licensing model even if unfair is valid and they were able to force a company as powerful as Apple into submission. 

    Aple isn't disputing the fact that QCOM should be paid royalties. They just want a level playing field with respect to royalty payments. Samsung and Intel have also filed Amicus briefs in support of Apple. 

    QCom is in a lot of trouble. This is an act of desperation. 
    edited July 2017 cornchipboltsfan17brian greenbshank
  • Reply 13 of 23
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,006member
    gatorguy said:
    larryjw said:
    Just more bad PR for Qualcomm. No court will grant such equitable injunctive relief, as this is merely a money dispute where Apple has already licenses the IP in question. Qualcomm can only get money, which if they win, will make them legally whole. 


    This set of patent assertions is different from the SEP ones Apple is arguing royalties on. So no Apple might not be paying royalties nor even licensing the patents Qualcomm is using for the ITC filing. 
    If the technology relating to those 'new' patents is in the chips that Apple is buying from QC then the fault lies with QC. They have deliberately sold devices to Apple and kept the patent info hidden until such time they are in so much trouble with the courts, they are using this to cloud the water.
    Apple may well turn around and say, 'we are licensing those chips so all the tech in them is de-facto licensed'.

    OTOH, it might be good for Apple to break the percentage of the final device cost that QC demand. now that this is common knowledge others might look at the sort of deals that they are in and if more companies are paying the percentage tithe then they may well file suit as well.
    Apple could license (temporarily) the new IP and move 100% to Intel. Then their legal case would be that QC need to fight Intel for illegally including their tech in stuff they sold.

    If I owned stock in QC, I'd be dumping it a quickly as I could. I get a sense of deja-vu here. Just replace QC with SCO and Apple with IBM, wind the clock back to 2003 and there you are.
     
  • Reply 14 of 23
    There should be a time limit for complaining of patent infringement, if it is known about when a product is first released (and the accused don't acknowledge direct contact) then a company must file a complaint then and there. Any time a company waits until they have beef with the accused or until a product has gained serious traction and sales years later then it should be thrown out as frivolous imho.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    gatorguy said:
    larryjw said:
    Just more bad PR for Qualcomm. No court will grant such equitable injunctive relief, as this is merely a money dispute where Apple has already licenses the IP in question. Qualcomm can only get money, which if they win, will make them legally whole. 


    This set of patent assertions is different from the SEP ones Apple is arguing royalties on. So no Apple might not be paying royalties nor even licensing the patents Qualcomm is using for the ITC filing. 
    If the technology relating to those 'new' patents is in the chips that Apple is buying from QC then the fault lies with QC. They have deliberately sold devices to Apple and kept the patent info hidden until such time they are in so much trouble with the courts, they are using this to cloud the water.
    Apple may well turn around and say, 'we are licensing those chips so all the tech in them is de-facto licensed'.
     
    No, these new patent claims have nothing to do with chips that Apple buys from Qualcomm or a licensee. They involve battery tech. Qualcomm likely has a few more stashed back as they've done engineering work and rec'd patents in a lot of areas only tangentially related to communication chips. 
  • Reply 16 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    This looks like a publicity stunt by Qualcomm. 
    It is actually a classic bullying tactic. The idea is to threaten irreparable harm unless the litigant drops the case. In this case, Apple's lawsuit. 

    Qualcomm should be arguing the merits of their position to a judge...
    This is an act of desperation. 
    Qualcomm is making the arguments to a judge at the ITC. Apple has also employed what you call a "bullying tactic" (I don't necessarily agree) by filing for ITC import injunctions against competing products.

    Comcast has put themselves in a similar position recently, deciding for whatever reason not to continue paying royalties on TIVO patents applicable to their cablebox DVR recorders, while generally everyone else in the industry does. Comcast of course is part of the massive NBCUniversal conglomerate and can well afford to take their chances in court. No big deal if they lose as money isn't a problem, but more profits to bank if they could paying TIVO (Rovi) royalties. 

    So TIVO filed two actions, one in Federal Court and one for an import ban via the ITC. They just got their import ban this month and yes it does put pressure on Comcast in the civil action. It was supposed to. Federal cases can drag on for years. Who is right? I've no idea. But a company using whatever legal tools it has to protect their property and profits should be expected whether that company is Apple the world's wealthiest, Qualcomm who I consider an overtly aggressive patent licensor, or relatively tiny TIVO
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/12/tivo-wins-patent-dispute-against-comcast/
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 17 of 23
    If this covers only Intel modems, why isn't Qualcomm suing Intel? For that matter, why aren't they suing other phone makers? Surely Apple can't be the only company to use those modems. Heck, given Qualcomm's record of double-dipping, why aren't they suing both Apple and Intel?
    bshank
  • Reply 18 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    If this covers only Intel modems, why isn't Qualcomm suing Intel? For that matter, why aren't they suing other phone makers? Surely Apple can't be the only company to use those modems. Heck, given Qualcomm's record of double-dipping, why aren't they suing both Apple and Intel?
    Isn't it obvious why they're suing Apple? They're the pack leader and the one pulling the strings (or perhaps tightening the purse strings).
    edited July 2017 bshank
  • Reply 19 of 23
    fmalloyfmalloy Posts: 105member
    williamh said:
    Qualcomm’s claims are belied by the fact that Apple licenses and pays for loads of IP.  Apple doesn’t need to pay every grifter who claims to have invented the 360’ circle. 
    Just like companies like Samsung shouldn't have to pay for every grifter that claims to have invented a rectangle with rounded corners.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    fmalloyfmalloy Posts: 105member
    The fanboy force is oh-so-strong. If you say that if Apple had owned the patents and licensing that they would not have done the same you're delusional or a flat out liar. Please stop making Apple out to be this benevolent, sweet, caring, victimized company.
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