Things are getting a bit ugly between Apple and Qualcomm in their patent licensing battle.
In a late Monday response and counterclaim to Apple’s $1 billion lawsuit alleging it has overcharged the smartphone maker for royalties, Qualcomm accused Apple of mischaracterizing its agreements with the tech company, encouraging regulatory attacks on its business, and misrepresenting performance of its chips.
In its filing, Qualcomm denied “each and every allegation” made by Apple in its complaint, and in turn claimed Apple breached and mischaracterized its agreements with Qualcomm and meddled with Qualcomm’s agreements with other licensees who produce iPhones and iPads. Additionally, Qualcomm said Apple chose not to utilize the full performance capabilities of its modem in its iPhone 7, and then threatened Qualcomm to stop the company from making public comparisons about its superior chip performance in the device.
That last bit would have come in comparison to the Intel chips Apple decided to use in some versions of its iPhone 7. Qualcomm said Apple “falsely claimed that there was ‘no discernible difference’ between iPhones with Qualcomm’s chipsets and iPhones with Intel’s chipsets,” and actively worked to stop Qualcomm from outing the disparity.
Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, claimed “Apple could not have built the incredible iPhone franchise that has made it the most profitable company in the world, capturing over 90 percent of smartphone profits, without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.” Those technologies, Qualcomm said in its filing, enable the use of popular apps like Uber, Snapchat, Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Maps, among others.
According to Qualcomm, “Apple achieved its success without contributing much, if anything, to the innovations at the heart of cellular communications.” But now that it’s a powerhouse in the market, Rosenberg said Apple is refusing to acknowledge Qualcomm’s role in its success and has “launched a global attack” on Qualcomm to “coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms” from the company.
Apple, in its original complaint, alleged Qualcomm has been “charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with” and asked the smartphone maker to cough up “at least five times more” than the sum of its agreements with other cellular patent licensors. Apple’s decision to file a lawsuit in January came just two days after the Federal Trade Commission filed its own complaint against Qualcomm in a California court.
Qualcomm said in its counterclaim it is seeking damages from Apple for going back on promises made in several agreements and an order blocking Apple from interfering further with Qualcomm’s agreements with other manufacturing companies.