Friday, 07 July 2017 10:34

Qualcomm seeks to block imports, sales of some iPhones, iPads Featured

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The stakes have been upped in the legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, with the chipmaker asking the US International Trade Commission to block imports of iPads and iPhones that do not include its chipsets and to prevent sale of such devices which are already in the country.

Qualcomm has accused Apple of infringing on some of its wireless technology patents, but said it was limiting its request so as to reduce the economic impact on Apple.

The complaint alleges that "Apple has engaged in the unlawful importation and sale of iPhones that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents covering key technologies that enable important features and functions in iPhones".

“Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies or cellular standards,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice-president and general counsel of Qualcomm.

“The patents we are asserting represent six important technologies, out of a portfolio of thousands, and each is vital to iPhone functions. Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it. These lawsuits seek to stop Apple’s infringement of six of our patented technologies.”

Qualcomm also filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of California alleging that Apple infringes the same six patents. The complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm in the UK in March, to add to court action initiated by it in the US and two such actions in China, both in January.

In the US case, Apple has accused Qualcomm of charging it "at least five times more in payments that all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined".

The two China lawsuits accuse Qualcomm of abusing its power in the processor industry and failing to honour promises to broadly license standard essential patents at a reasonable price.

Qualcomm's move comes as Apple prepares for the release, later this year, of its 10th anniversary iPhone. However, given the time that the Federal Trade Commission takes to rule on such requests, it is unlikely that it will have any impact on the new devices.

Qualcomm said it expected the ITC investigation to begin in August and the case to be tried in 2018.

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Sam Varghese

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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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