What happens when tow giants decide to sue and countersue each other? Well, they generate a lot of news, and lose a lot of money, and give stuff to talk about for everyone! The two giants in question here are none other than Qualcomm and Apple. Yes, we’re excited too, and yes, it’s going to go on for years! So, let’s get the ground work done, and we’ll let you know what’s happened till date!
We all know Qualcomm’s processors, or better yet, their modems are key for any LTE-connected device in today’s world. Also, it is known that Qualcomm’s modems are the only ones on the market capable of supporting data transfers up to gigabit speed. Additionally, along with the high quality of the radios, Qualcomm is also the only company that licenses the CDMA technology that Sprint and Verizon use for their 2G and 3G networks.
So where did it all begin? Well, earlier this year, Apple and Qualcomm began a legal battle over Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) patents that stated Qualcomm was charging unreasonable sums for patents essential to cellular technology. Qualcomm followed that up with a claim to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) stating Apple infringed on six of Qualcomm’s patents. Whew! And that’s not all.
According to Qualcomm, Apple has stolen patents and, so they filed paperwork to ban both the sale and the manufacturing of the popular smartphone in China. A spokeswoman from Qualcomm was heard saying “Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them,” noting that the iPhone’s power management and Force Touch features are just “a few examples of the many Qualcomm technologies that Apple uses to improve its devices and increase its profits.”
Apple had another spokesman saying, “In our many years of ongoing negotiations with Qualcomm, these patents have never been discussed. Like their other courtroom manoeuvres, we believe this latest legal effort will fail.”
Yes, it has been a war of words, and it will continue to be. Now, lets talk numbers and locations. In the United States, Apple is suing Qualcomm for a whopping $1 billion, and that’s not all. It has also filed a lawsuit in China and the United Kingdom for $145 million each!
So, what does Qualcomm want? Well, it was iPhone’s – sales and manufacturing in China to be banned and is also seeking to ban certain iPhone models from sale in the US. Even though the models are not shared yes, it is a huge ask!
In another statement, “Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies or cellular standards,” general counsel Don Rosenberg said, and continued with “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it.”
To counter this argument, Apple said that there was whole lot of evidence to prove that Qualcomm operated an “illegal business model,” and that it sought to extract patent royalties on every wireless device containing its chips.
So, this is the base, the foundation, but what’s happening now? Well, Apple has won two rulings. The judge has ruled that Qualcomm cannot collect intellectual property (IP) royalty payments on Apple’s manufacturing partners until the total royalty’s amount is determined, if that happens at all. Qualcomm will now have to calculate and argue just how much royalty money will need to be recouped from Apple and its partners. Not only that, Qualcomm will now have to prove just how exactly Apple are infringing their patents! So, it’s Apple -2 and Qualcomm – 0. We’ll have to wait for more that’s bound to happen in this case!