Apple sues Qualcomm in China, expanding fight over patent licensing

Qualcomm logoApple filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm on Friday, alleging that the chipmaker's patent-licensing practices amount to "extortion." Today, the full international extent of that legal assault became clearer, as Apple filed two more lawsuits in Beijing's Intellectual Property Court.

Like the US cases, the Chinese lawsuits say that Qualcomm abused its dominant position in the industry, according to Reuters, which first reported the developments. The first seeks 1 billion yuan ($145.35 million) in damages. The second case says Qualcomm didn't license standard-essential patents at a fair and reasonable rate.

In a statement on the new lawsuits, Qualcomm said that Apple was offered the same terms as other customers.

"These filings by Apple’s Chinese subsidiary are just part of Apple’s efforts to find ways to pay less for Qualcomm's technology," said Qualcomm general counsel Dan Rosenberg. "Apple was offered terms consistent with terms accepted by more than one hundred other Chinese companies and refused to even consider them... Qualcomm is prepared to defend its business model anywhere in the world."

Qualcomm has been taking heat from multiple fronts in recent weeks. In December, Korean regulators hit Qualcomm with an $850 million fine over its patent-licensing practices. The US Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm earlier this week over patent licensing practices, as well.

The FTC lawsuit says Qualcomm had a "no license, no chips" policy, in effect putting a patent "tax" on any cell phone makers who used non-Qualcomm products.

Apple's lawsuit accuses Qualcomm of "double-dipping" royalty payments. Apple's contracted manufacturers buy Qualcomm chips and take a patent license, and then Apple is required to pay for a separate patent license.

Combined chip purchases from Apple and Samsung account for 40 percent of Qualcomm's $23.5 billion revenue in the last fiscal year, according to Reuters.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, China, legal action, Qualcomm

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