Friday, 03 November 2017 10:12

Qualcomm sues Apple over alleged software licence breach

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Chip maker Qualcomm has filed yet another suit against Apple, this time accusing the latter of breaking a software licence contract in order to benefit Intel in the making of broadband modems.

A Reuters report said the suit, filed in California state court, alleged that Apple had used its commercial leverage to ask for broad access to Qualcomm's proprietary software.

Apple, which has been using chips from Qualcomm, first used the broadband modem chips from Intel in the iPhone 7.

There have been reports earlier this week that Apple would stop using chips from Qualcomm in its iPhones and iPads from next year.

The two companies have been on the warpath for a while since January, when Apple filed a suit against Qualcomm in the US, followed by two cases in China the same month. Two months later it filed a case in the UK.

In April, Apple upped the ante by saying that it would stop paying royalties to Qualcomm.

Qualcomm retaliated in July, asking the US International Trade Commission to block imports of iPads and iPhones that do not include its chipsets, and to prevent the sale of such devices that are already in the US.

On 19 July, Qualcomm said it had filed lawsuits against Apple in Germany, claiming violation of its patents.

The same month, Taiwan manufacturers Foxconn, Pegatron, Compal and Wistron joined Apple in the battle against Qualcomm, charging that the chip maker overcharges for patent licences and breaks anti-trust laws.

Qualcomm sued the four Apple contractors in May after they stopped paying royalties.

In September, Qualcomm filed lawsuits in China to try and stop Apple from selling and manufacturing phones in the country.

The lawsuits were filed in an intellectual property court in Beijing on 29 September, alleging patent infringement and asking the court for injunctive relief.

The patents mentioned in the Beijing lawsuit cover power management and Force Touch, a touch-screen technology that Apple uses in current iPhone models.

Qualcomm, based in San Diego, earns most of its sales from its processors for mobile phones. But most of its profits come from royalties on patents that cover the basics of all recent mobile devices.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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