Qualcomm isn’t backing down in its massive legal fight with Apple over royalty payments.
The chipmaker has asked a US court to force iPhone suppliers to keep paying it royalty fees, while it continues its legal battle with Apple.
In an injunction filed on Wednesday, Qualcomm said it wants third-party manufacturers for the iPhone, like Foxconn, to pay licensing fees. We first saw the filing reported by Axios.
In a statement given to Axios, Qualcomm general counsel Dan Rosenberg said: “We are confident that our contracts will be found valid and enforceable but in the interim it is only fair and equitable that our licensees pay for the property they are using.”
This is just one strand of Qualcomm and Apple’s complicated fight.
The dispute began when Apple sued Qualcomm in the US, UK, and China. Qualcomm licenses technologies that are used in the iPhone. It doesn’t license to Apple directly, but to third parties like Foxconn. And, according to Apple, Qualcomm massively overcharges for those patents. The firm has denied that charge, calling Apple’s claims “baseless.”
Apple stopped paying its third-party manufacturing partners for those Qualcomm licenses last month and, with its latest filing, the chipmaker’s trying to force payments while the dispute is ongoing. Qualcomm said it would suffer “irreparable harm,” because the fees being withheld are worth “billions of dollars.”
There’s another layer of complexity: Qualcomm filed a bunch of counter-claims last month, and added to these in a separate filing on Wednesday. The company said Apple had built the most valuable tech firm in the world by “relying significantly” on technologies “pioneered” by Qualcomm. It also complained about Apple’s “strong-arm tactics.”
“Apple’s tactics are egregious,” the company wrote.
Apple has argued that Qualcomm charges for royalties it has nothing to do with, and that the chipmaker’s benefiting from Apple’s innovation rather than its own.
In an earnings called in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook compared Qualcomm to a shady furniture seller.
“It’s somewhat like buying a sofa and you charge somebody a different price depending upon the house that it goes into,” he said.