Apple joins top suppliers in Qualcomm countersuit

Apple suing Qualcomm over patent royalty payments

Apple suing Qualcomm over patent royalty payments

Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said that despite Apple's claims against Qualcomm, Apple suppliers remain contractually obligated to pay royalties to Qualcomm under their licence agreements with it, including for sales of iPhones to Apple.

The first to complain is Hon Hai Precision Industry which assembles iPhones, next is Wistron which makes iPhone in India, Compal Electronics which makes the Apple Watch and Pegatron which makes iPhones in China.

Even Apple cheerleader Reuters has noticed how much of the language in the contractors' allegations mirror Apple's objections to Qualcomm's business model.

The accusations were made in a filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. "Qualcomm's inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies and cellular standards".

The lost license revenue from Apple has been a hit to Qualcomm's sales.

A new round of artillery has been fired in the ongoing antitrust and licensing fight between Apple and Qualcomm. In that case, Apple sued Qualcomm in January, alleging that Qualcomm withheld the payment of nearly $1 billion in rebates owed to Apple due to Apple's working with federal regulators in South Korea. The iPhone maker subsequently stopped paying royalties to its suppliers, which would normally then have paid those licensing fees on to the chipmaker.

Now manufacturers are accusing Qualcomm of wrongdoing, a move that threatens to broaden the chipmaker's legal woes out to other smartphone makers that rely on the same group to produce their devices. Apple filed a lawsuit a few days later accusing the chip maker of charging unfair royalties.

"Qualcomm has confirmed publicly that this lawsuit against our clients is meant to make a point about Apple and punish our clients for working with Apple", Theodore J. Boutrous, a lawyer for the four companies, said in a statement. Apple has used baseband processors from both Qualcomm and Intel in some iPhone models, reducing its reliance on a single supplier.

The Qualcomm CEO stated during the interview that his company is still open to ending the lawsuit in a settlement.

This week, at a conference hosted by Fortune magazine, Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm's chief executive, said he expected the litigation with Apple to be settled before it goes before a judge and jury. "Those things tend to get to resolved out of court and there's no reason why I wouldn't expect that to be the case here", stated Mollenkopf.

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