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US trade body to probe Apple on Qualcomm’s patent claims

San Francisco: To find a solution to the protracted legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) will start an investigation into the chip-maker`s claims that Apple violated its patents in devices like the iPhone 7.

According to a report in Forbes on Tuesday, Qualcomm asked the ITC to stop further sales of iPhones equipped with cellular baseband modem processors made by rival chip-producer Intel.

The mobile-phone chip-maker claimed that Apple violated potentially six of its patents in how it uses the Intel modems.

“Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC`s decision to investigate Apple`s unfair trade practices and the unauthorised importation of products using Qualcomm`s patents,” the report quoted Don Rosenberg, General Counsel, Qualcomm, as saying.

“We look forward to the ITC`s expeditious investigation of Apple`s ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the Commission can provide,” Rosenberg added.

The trade agency said it will make a determination “at the earliest practicable time”.

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, which represents several tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, lodged a formal letter with the ITC in July that Qualcomm`s proposed import ban on foreign-assembled iPhones using Intel chips would cause “significant shocks to supply” for the wider smartphone market.

It was followed by Intel`s standalone declaration supporting Apple. The declaration asserted that Qualcomm maintained a monopoly over the chip market through “anticompetitive practices”.

Apple began using Intel cellular modems for some versions of the iPhone 7 launched last year, with the remaining supplied by Qualcomm.

Apple continues to reassert claims it made in its lawsuit against Qualcomm, saying “the chipmaker supplies Apple with a single connectivity component, but for years has been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products — effectively taxing Apple`s innovation”.

The global chip-maker had filed a new patent infringement lawsuit against Apple a few months back and now expects an `out of court` settlement with the Cupertino-based iPhone maker.

Qualcomm had lodged a complaint with the ITC requesting ban on import and domestic sales of iPhone and iPad models produced outside of the US.

More specifically, the chip-maker seeks an exclusion order that applies only to handsets that implement wireless modems made by Intel. Apple first began sourcing Intel modems with the iPhone 7 model last year.

Apple responded to Qualcomm`s claims of six infringements and demand for ban on foreign-made Apple devices, saying the company had tried to negotiate before suing and that Qualcomm is abusing its position.

Stating that its third quarter results were negatively impacted by Apple`s contract manufacturers not paying royalties, chip giant Qualcomm reported its revenue declined 11 per cent over the previous year.

Source

Published On : 09-Aug-2017

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