Qualcomm faces more antitrust scrutiny in Germany over iPhone modem lawsuits

Posted:
in iPhone
Qualcomm is facing increased scrutiny in Europe, with more preliminary investigations being made against the company over antitrust issues, due to a complaint from Apple earlier this year that alleges Qualcomm is using patent lawsuits in Germany as a means to monopolize part of the iPhone supply chain.




The European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition queried Qualcomm about Apple's antitrust complaint on Tuesday, which the iPhone producer had filed earlier this year but was left unreported, according to a report from analytics firm MLex spotted by Foss Patents.

The complaint is said to involve Qualcomm's attempts at patent enforcement against Apple in Germany, where trials are expected to occur over the next few months, with iPhones using Intel baseband chips being the subject of the suits. Qualcomm claims Intel modems used in the iPhones are infringing on Qualcomm's patents, and is seeking for a ban of imports of iPhones into the country.

While a judge initially sided with Qualcomm, the ruling was postponed until the European Patent Office makes a decision on patent validity that could affect the outcome.

Apple's complaint to the European Union alleges Qualcomm is using patent enforcement as a way to coerce Apple into acquiring its chips instead of sharing the supply chain with Intel. While previously Qualcomm had provided Apple cheaper chips in exclusivity agreements, Apple's move away to Intel has prompted Qualcomm to try and force Apple to reconsider by using the courts as a weapon.

Qualcomm was hit with a $1.2 billion fine by the European Commission in January over the exclusivity deals, which involved paying Apple billions to use its LTE baseband chips for a five-year period between 2011 and 2016.

The new preliminary investigations could, depending on what the Commission discovers, turn into a formal investigation and could produce yet another fine against the chip maker down the road.

This is the latest in a long line of courtroom battles between Apple and Qualcomm around the world, all relating to the cellular chips used by Apple in its products. Given the sheer number of complaints, both in the United States and Europe as well as other regions, it is unlikely the legal arguments between the companies will end anytime soon.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,822member
    Considering they are Intel Chips that are supposedly infringing on Qualcomm patents, shouldn't Qualcomm be going after Intel? Apple didn't make the chips. Apple only paid Intel to use them. If anyone should be sued, it should be Intel, not Apple.
    darren mccoyicoco3
  • Reply 2 of 8
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,041member
    jbdragon said:
    Considering they are Intel Chips that are supposedly infringing on Qualcomm patents, shouldn't Qualcomm be going after Intel? Apple didn't make the chips. Apple only paid Intel to use them. If anyone should be sued, it should be Intel, not Apple.
    That may sound sensical but obviously not the case as proven over and over by these lawsuits being litigated.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,528moderator
    jbdragon said:
    Considering they are Intel Chips that are supposedly infringing on Qualcomm patents, shouldn't Qualcomm be going after Intel? Apple didn't make the chips. Apple only paid Intel to use them. If anyone should be sued, it should be Intel, not Apple.
    It’s called indirect infringement, allowing patent holders to go after the company selling the end products that incorporate infringing technology.  Very common, so common, in fact, that it’s standard practice for companies like Apple to include indemnification clauses in their purchase contracts, so that they can be made whole if they are sued for patent infringement by one of their suppliers.  
    fotoformaticoco3
  • Reply 4 of 8
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,041member
    jbdragon said:
    Considering they are Intel Chips that are supposedly infringing on Qualcomm patents, shouldn't Qualcomm be going after Intel? Apple didn't make the chips. Apple only paid Intel to use them. If anyone should be sued, it should be Intel, not Apple.
    It’s called indirect infringement, allowing patent holders to go after the company selling the end products that incorporate infringing technology.  Very common, so common, in fact, that it’s standard practice for companies like Apple to include indemnification clauses in their purchase contracts, so that they can be made whole if they are sued for patent infringement by one of their suppliers.  
    Right on Radar, or perhaps "Induced Infringement" if Apple was involved in engineering the product even tho Intel actually manufactured it. 

    There's many different methods by which a product might be infringing (aka "stealing" depending on who is being discussed) another companies intellectual property. 

    • Direct infringement. Someone creates the product without the patent holder's permission. The infringer doesn't have to know that the patent exists in order for the patent owner to sue him or her for direct infringement. That person can't make, use, offer, sell, or import a patented invention whether or not he or she knows a patent exists.
    • Indirect infringement. The infringer did not directly infringe on the patent but may have encouraged or helped to infringe on the product.
    • Induced infringement. This refers to inducing or persuading someone to make a patented invention. This term is often used in the same way as indirect infringement.
    • Contributory infringement. Someone provides a part or a product to help someone else infringe a patent. That part or product must not have any other reasonable use.
    • Literal infringement. To prove literal infringement in court, all elements of a defendant's device or idea must be present in the patented one.
    • Willful infringement. Willful infringement means that another person or company purposely used someone else's patented ideas or products. A simple way to disprove willful infringement is to hire a patent attorney, who presumably will inform his or her client if infringement is about to occur. It's common for a court to award treble damages in cases of willful infringement, which can serve to prevent it due to their size.


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 8
    Yet some people still defend the way Qualcomm licenses their IP.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    nunzynunzy Posts: 660member
    Qualcomm is getting Appled big time. They will be destroyed.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,041member
    Yet some people still defend the way Qualcomm licenses their IP.
    I think anymore most of those folks are attorneys.  Or investors. 
  • Reply 8 of 8
    jbdragon said:
    Considering they are Intel Chips that are supposedly infringing on Qualcomm patents, shouldn't Qualcomm be going after Intel? Apple didn't make the chips. Apple only paid Intel to use them. If anyone should be sued, it should be Intel, not Apple.
    It’s called indirect infringement, allowing patent holders to go after the company selling the end products that incorporate infringing technology.  Very common, so common, in fact, that it’s standard practice for companies like Apple to include indemnification clauses in their purchase contracts, so that they can be made whole if they are sued for patent infringement by one of their suppliers.  
    Just curious, are you working for AI or a volunteer?
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