11 April 2017
California
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Qualcomm comes out fighting


Qualcomm has filed counterclaims in response to Apple’s $1 billion patent lawsuit, accusing the smartphone company of abusing its power.

Apple sued Qualcomm in January for nearly $1 billion following a US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit against the semiconductor company over the licensing of standard-essential patents.

The iPhone maker claimed Qualcomm “unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with” and withheld nearly $1 billion in payments from Apple in retaliation for “responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them”.

Apple also hit Qualcomm in China, alleging a violation of the country’s anti-monopoly law.

In Qualcomm’s 10 April response to the lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, Qualcomm counterclaimed against Apple for damages and an injunction for what Qualcomm said is a “breach of contract”.

The semiconductor company accused Apple of leveraging its power to pay less than the fair market value for access to Qualcomm’s standard-essential patents.

Qualcomm denied “each and every claim stated”, arguing that Apple “fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted”.

Responding in January to Apple’s lawsuit, Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said: “Apple has intentionally mischaracterised our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing programme.”

He added: “We welcome the opportunity to have these meritless claims heard in court where we will be entitled to full discovery of Apple’s practices and a robust examination of the merits.”

The FTC lawsuit against Qualcomm, which filed in January in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claimed the semiconductor company has engaged in “exclusionary conduct that taxes its competitors’ baseband processor sales, reduces competitors’ ability and incentive to innovate, and raises prices paid by consumers for cell phones and tablets”.

“Qualcomm withholds its baseband processors unless a customer accepts a licence to standard-essential patents on terms preferred by Qualcomm, including elevated royalties that the customer must pay when using competitors’ processors,” the FTC lawsuit alleged.

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