Apple sues Qualcomm over patent licensing and $1B in payments

The lawsuit follows actions by antitrust regulators in South Korea and the U.S.

A nasty spat between Apple and Qualcomm broke into public view on Friday when the smartphone maker accused the chip supplier of charging "exorbitant" licensing fees for its cellular technology.

Apple is asking a Southern California court to order Qualcomm to pay it nearly $1 billion that it says Qualcomm is holding back. Apple says it is owed the money but Qualcomm is holding it back because Apple cooperated with a South Korean government investigation into Qualcomm's licensing practices.

The lawsuit alleges that Qualcomm charges high licensing fees to the companies that make iPhones for Apple. Those companies pass the fees on to Apple but aren't allowed to show Apple the specifics of the licensing deals, leaving Apple unsure what it is paying for.

"For many years Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with," Apple said in a statement. "The more Apple innovates with unique features such as TouchID, advanced displays, and cameras, to name just a few, the more money Qualcomm collects for no reason and the more expensive it becomes for Apple to fund these innovations."

The lawsuit comes just months after Apple began using Intel radio chips in some units of the iPhone 7. And it follows two recent legal actions by antitrust regulators against Qualcomm's licensing practices.

In December, antitrust regulators in South Korea levied an $854 million fine against Qualcomm for unfair licensing practices. Qualcomm vowed to appeal the decision.

Then, earlier this week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission followed with allegations of its own: that Qualcomm had engaged in anticompetitive practices by forcing some phone makers into accepting unfavorable licensing terms while giving Apple a break in exchange for exclusivity.

Apple cooperated with the South Korean investigation. It alleged on Friday that Qualcomm withheld nearly $1 billion in rebates as punishment for that.

In response to the FTC's lawsuit earlier this week, Qualcomm denied it did anything of the sort and said the FTC's lawsuit is "significantly flawed."

"Qualcomm has never withheld or threatened to withhold chip supply in order to obtain agreement to unfair or unreasonable licensing terms," it said in a statement. "The FTC’s allegation to the contrary -- the central thesis of the complaint -- is wrong."

It has not commented on Apple's lawsuit.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Applequalcomm

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?