In the latest escalation of its global legal fight with Apple, Qualcomm is asking the US government to ban new iPhones from coming into the country. It also wants sales halted on iPhones that have already made their way in.
Qualcomm says that Apple is violating six patents that have to do with extending a phone’s battery life. None of the patents are essential to a standard, Qualcomm says, which means it isn’t required to license them — as it is with the other patents the two companies are in disagreement over.
The complaint is being filed with both the the US International Trade Commission and the US District Court for the Southern District of California, where the two companies’ other claims are being hashed out.
“Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies or cellular standards,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, says in a statement. He also says, “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it.” Qualcomm even put together an infographic to explain what the six patents are used for.
Today’s filing was an expected escalation in the dispute between Apple and Qualcomm, which kicked off at the beginning of this year. After the Federal Trade Commission began suing Qualcomm for anti-competitive practices relating to sales of its smartphone modems, Apple filed its own lawsuit alleging much the same thing. Apple has since expanded that suit to two other countries, while Qualcomm has filed its own lawsuits in an effort to strike back at Apple and its suppliers.
Apple claims that Qualcomm is charging “disproportionately high” fees for the use of its patents and abusing its position as the market leader in smartphone modems. Qualcomm is the primary supplier of LTE modems; if a company like Apple wants to ship a lot of smartphones, it pretty much has to cut a deal with Qualcomm, giving the company a lot of leverage. Many of those patents, however, are “standard essential,” which requires them to be licensed at a fair and reasonable rate.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.