26 July 2017
Washington DC
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Qualcomm accuses critics of ‘misdirection’

Third-party opinions on Qualcomm’s call for an International Trade Commission (ITC) investigation into iPhones are the result of a “coordinated effort” aimed at misdirection, the semiconductor company has claimed.

Qualcomm responded to third-party opinions from the likes of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), whose members want the ITC to reject the request for an investigation into Apple’s alleged infringement of six patents, earlier this week (24 July).

The submissions attempt to “distract the commission from the statutory factors by improperly focusing, under the guise of public interest, on claims against Qualcomm currently pending in district court … the commission's role, however, is not to adjudicate these other claims in parallel, but to determine whether there is a violation of Section 337”.

It added: “This case was not filed to stifle competition—it was filed to halt Apple’s unauthorised use of Qualcomm technology and to prevent infringement of Qualcomm’s patents through unfairly traded imports—the very purpose of the patent laws and section 337.”

Semiconductor rival Intel, which has also filed a third-party opinion, the CCIA and Apple are “hypocritical” for disputing the legitimacy of Qualcomm’s Section 337 violation claim.

“Both Apple and Intel have filed numerous section 337 investigations, as have at least five CCIA members.”

Apple was entitled to use Qualcomm’s technology through a licence agreement between the two companies, but earlier this year Apple forced contract manufacturers to stop paying royalties on the iPhone and then filed lawsuits against the semiconductor in China and the US.

Apple built its business “in large part by utilising Qualcomm’s technology” and for “nearly a decade, Apple recognised the significant value brought by that technology and reimbursed its contract manufacturers for the license fees due for the iPhones”.

The iPhone maker filed suit against Qualcomm after the US Federal Trade Commission accused the semiconductor company of several standard-essential patent abuses.

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