QR.bizNewsQualcomm Ramps Up Apple Fight, Sues iPhone Makers

Qualcomm Ramps Up Apple Fight, Sues iPhone Makers

Because Qualcomm's licensing deals relating to the iPhone and iPad are not with Apple itself but with the contract manufacturers that produce the devices, the maker of Snapdragon processors and wireless modems can not sue Apple directly for withholding those royalties.

According to a federal lawsuit Qualcomm filed Wednesday, Apple has also instructed its contractors to withhold those payments and has agreed to indemnify them for damages from any lawsuits.

Forbes reports that Qualcomm is suing these four manufacturers for not paying royalities to Qualcomm for the patents on its smartphone tech, including IP on cellular modems - you know, 3G/4G are a big thing.

Qualcomm said the manufacturers have not disputed their contractual obligations, but told the chipmaker they were acting under Apple's orders not to pay.

Qualcomm has already filed a separate claim against Apple for its interference with the license agreements between Qualcomm and these manufacturers.

"Our licence agreements with Apple's manufacturers remain valid and enforceable".

The other manufacturers listed by Qualcomm were Pegatron Corp 4938.TW , Wistron Corp 3231.TW and Compal Electronics Inc 2324.TW . "We're suing to make the point that others shouldn't be used by Apple to advance this agenda they have of attacking us". But it certainly doesn't look goodfor the company right now, because Samsung and Intel have just filed amicus briefs against Qualcomm in its FTC battle. Apple's suit built upon a wave of global resistance to Qualcomm's patent-licensing business that has included investigations and fines in several countries.

Rosenberg declined to comment on why Qualcomm chose a lawsuit in San Diego Federal Court against Apple's contract manufacturers rather than going to the U.S. International Trade Commission to bar iPhone imports.

The company licenses patents based on the price of the entire device, and it has agreed to provide certain patents under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms because they are included in wireless industry standards. Further, the defendants are continuing to pay Qualcomm royalties for use of Qualcomm's technology in non-Apple products, under the very same agreements that apply to the Apple products. Those contract manufacturers in turn had stopped paying Qualcomm by the same amount.

Qualcomm pioneered a good portion of 3G/4G cellular radio technology and holds thousands of patents on its inventions. They have continued to pay royalties for using Qualcomm's patents in non-Apple products, the filing said.

The dispute started in January when Apple sued Qualcomm for $1bn, accusing it of abusing its monopoly position - accusations Qualcomm dismissed as "baseless". To deny the case would continue to impede the progression of the technology and drive up the cost of smartphones for consumers, it argued.

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