Apple Fires Another Salvo at Qualcomm in Torturous Legal Battle

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Apple is entrenching itself in its legal battle with Qualcomm. On Tuesday, the Cupertino-based company updated its complaint against the chipmaker, claiming that Qualcomm’s “illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry” in a statement provided to the press.

According to the updated complaint, Qualcomm has been charging Apple a percentage of the total cost of the Cupertino company’s products — a move that Apple equates to a tax on its innovation. “We believe deeply in the value of intellectual property but we shouldn’t have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with,” Apple’s statement continues. “We’ve always been willing to pay a fair rate for standard technology in our products and since they’ve refused to negotiate reasonable terms we’re asking the courts for help.”

Today’s update is only the latest volley in the intensifying legal battle between the San Diego-based chipmaker and Apple. On one hand, Apple claims that it shouldn’t have to pay Qualcomm any royalties beyond those on the tech present in the company’s chips, as opposed to paying a percentage of a device’s total value. Qualcomm is alleging that its royalties are fair — as they cover a wider range of tech than what’s present in a single chip — and the company countersued, alleging that Apple lied. Apple first filed a suit against the chipmaker early this year. In April, Qualcomm responded: “We intend to vigorously defend our business model, and pursue our right to protect and receive fair value for our technological contributions to the industry.”

Qualcomm is the world’s largest maker of mobile chips, and its cellular modems are found in most modern smartphones and devices. But Qualcomm also owns much of the intellectual property that forms the basis of 3G and 4G networks — meaning that smartphone makers have to pay licensing fees even if they don’t use the company’s modems in their devices. In fact, the company claims that no present-day smartphone would even be possible without “Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.” The San Diego company has also filed lawsuits against several companies in the iPhone supply chain, including Foxconn and Wistron — something that Apple claims is indicative of Qualcomm’s “true bullying nature.” Apple also contends that Qualcomm hoped to “punish” it for cooperating in a South Korean investigation of the chipmaker’s business practices by withholding rebates. Similarly, in April, Apple announced that it would stop paying royalties to Qualcomm altogether until a court intervenes.

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