Qualcomm to Pursue iPhone Import Ban in United States in Ongoing Apple Feud

The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple is heating up, with Qualcomm planning to seek an import ban that would prevent iPhones from being able to enter the United States, reports Bloomberg. Qualcomm is reportedly "incensed" over Apple's decision to stop paying licensing fees during the dispute and is aiming to retaliate.

Qualcomm is preparing to ask the International Trade Commission to stop the iPhone, which is built in Asia, from entering the country, threatening to block Apple's iconic product from the American market in advance of its anticipated new model this fall, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Qualcomm and Apple have been facing off in an ongoing legal dispute since January that started when the FTC complained that Qualcomm had engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices. Shortly after the FTC complaint, Apple sued Qualcomm, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and refusing to pay quarterly rebates.

qualcomm logo
In April, Qualcomm countersued, accusing Apple of breaching licensing agreements, making false statements, and encouraging regulatory attacks against Qualcomm's business in multiple countries. Qualcomm claims Apple "could not have built the incredible iPhone franchise" without relying on Qualcomm's "fundamental cellular technologies."

The lawsuit heated up in late April when Apple stopped making royalty payments to Qualcomm and confirmed it would not continue payments until a court figured out the total amount that was owed. Apple CEO Tim Cook yesterday reiterated that Apple could not pay the fees without the court deciding what amount should be paid due to Qualcomm's refusal to license its patents under FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) terms.

In terms of why we're withholding payments, you can't pay something when there's a dispute about how much is needed to be paid. There hasn't been a meeting of the minds there. At this point, we need the courts to decide that. [...]

The reason we are pursuing this is that Qualcomm is trying to charge Apple a percentage of the total of the iPhone value, but their modems/patented technologies are one small part of the iPhone. We don't think that's right, so we're taking a principle stand on it. We strongly believe we're in the right, as they probably think they are.

The United States International Trade Commission could potentially put a stop to iPhone shipments to the United States should the ITC side with Qualcomm. ITC cases are processed more quickly than cases in the federal courts, where this lawsuit will likely be drawn out for years to come.

Top Rated Comments

Andres Cantu Avatar
89 months ago
Good luck with getting the iPhone banned in the U.S.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newyorksole Avatar
89 months ago
Lolol I'm no expert in this matter, but there's no wayyyy any company is gonna stop Apple from importing iPhones.

Apple has way too many legal resources for that to even get close to happening.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
89 months ago
The last time Apple tried to get out of paying for a FRAND patent because they claimed the price was too high, the ITC banned their devices from import:

ITC Rules Apple Infringed on Samsung Patents, Issues Cease and Desist Order for Older Apple Devices - MacRumors 2013 ('https://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/04/itc-rules-apple-infringed-on-samsung-patents-issues-cease-and-desist-order-for-older-apple-devices/')

And that was with Samsung reportedly asking for "a licensing fee of 2.4% per device sold, which Apple found to be unreasonable." The ITC ruled 1) that royalties based on price were standard with cellular patents, and that 2) it was just an initial offer, which Apple was expected to negotiate down.

Fortunately for Apple, the Obama administration stepped in and vetoed the import ban, saying that a ban could not used for a FRAND situation... unless the licensee continued to avoid actual negotiating.

Not so sure Trump would do the same, if the ITC rules in a similar manner.

Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nuckinfutz Avatar
89 months ago
Good Deity this is getting out of hand.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
konqerror Avatar
89 months ago
Good luck with getting the iPhone banned in the U.S.
It did happen. Broadcom got all of Qualcomm's chips banned for import by the ITC during their patent dispute. This meant no phones at all for Verizon and Sprint.

Carriers had to pay license fees directly to Broadcom to get around it. Major factor in Qualcomm's eventual settlement.
http://www.mercurynews.com/2007/08/06/u-s-upholds-import-ban-on-qualcomm-chips/

Because Apple doesn't participate in wireless standards, they have no IP to fight back, so I'd venture to guess that they're in a much weaker position than Qualcomm.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macfacts Avatar
89 months ago
... If Apple charge $1 for an iPhone, Qualcomm gets, maybe $0.01? If they charge $1,000 why should Qualcomm get $10? ...
Can't have it both ways. When Apple sued Samsung for rounded corners, Apple got a percentage of the entire cost of Samsung's phones sold. Apple didnt just ask for the cost of the plastic phone shell.
[doublepost=1493859841][/doublepost]
no one said it was.
This news story is saying Apple has stopped payments. That sounds like free to me.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18? Here's What the Latest Rumor Says

Thursday February 29, 2024 7:29 am PST by
iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are still over three months away from being unveiled, but we may already know which devices will be compatible with the updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, meaning that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR from 2018 will remain supported for at least another year, according to information shared this week by a source with a...
iPad Pro OLED Feature 2

OLED iPad Pro's Thin Design Highlighted in CAD Drawings

Wednesday February 28, 2024 1:22 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new version of the iPad Pro that is set to launch as soon as March, and the refresh will mark the biggest design update to the Pro lineup since 2018. Apple is transitioning to OLED displays, and the swap will allow for a major change to the overall thickness of the device. CAD drawings of the upcoming ~11-inch and ~13-inch iPad Pro models give us some insight into just...