As the legal dispute between Apple and Qualcomm continues, Qualcomm this week has requested an injunction to force Apple's iPhone manufacturers to keep paying royalties during the legal battle (via Axios). Last week, Qualcomm sued four of Apple's suppliers -- Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron, and Compal -- for "breaching their license agreements" by failing to pay royalties on the use of Qualcomm's technology in the assembly of Apple's devices.

Now, Qualcomm is trying to force the suppliers to continue to make royalty payments amid the legal scuffle with Apple. According to Qualcomm's general counsel, Don Rosenberg, the company believes that "it is only fair and equitable" that the suppliers pay for Qualcomm's licensed technology.

qualcomm logo

"We are confident that our contracts will be found valid and enforceable but in the interim it is only fair and equitable that our licensees pay for the property they are using," Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement to Axios.

In April, Apple decided to stop making royalty payments to its manufacturers in relation to Qualcomm technology, and said it would continue doing so until the conflict was resolved. Now, in an amended section of its earlier lawsuit, Qualcomm claims Apple has promised to compensate its suppliers for any monetary loss potentially faced during the lawsuit.

According to Qualcomm, this is a tactic enacted by Apple "to make litigation unbearable" and to force a settlement, because Qualcomm claims that Apple knows it would not win if the case eventually made it to court.

By withholding billions of dollars in royalties so long as Qualcomm defends itself against Apple's claims, Apple is hoping to make litigation unbearable for Qualcomm and, thereby, to extract through a forced settlement what it knows it cannot obtain through judicial process—a below-market direct license. Apple's tactics are egregious.

The lawsuit began with an FTC complaint regarding Qualcomm's anticompetitive patent licensing practices, for which Apple sued Qualcomm, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with." The argument died down for a few months until Apple ceased royalty payments to its suppliers in April, which particularly hurt Qualcomm because the company's licensing deals are directly with iPhone suppliers and not Apple itself.

Top Rated Comments

wedouglas Avatar
70 months ago
No, it's pretty clear that just about everyone in the industry hates Qualcomm. The US FTC is suing them, Apple is suing them, even Samsung filed an amicus brief in support of Apple/FTC. Qualcomm demands royalty payments for the entire price of any device using their chips; they charge more for a $1000 iPhone 7 than for a $600 one, even though they use the same parts...does this seem fair to you? And of course it's the consumer who ends up paying more for the ludicrous royalties.
There is nothing at all unfair about a contract stipulating a percentage of the selling price as a royalty. Have you ever actually dealt with royalties? Every McDonalds franchise out there pays a royalty to McDonalds that is a percentage of gross sales. It doesn't matter how much you sell, you owe x% to McDonalds for the right to use their IP etc.

McDonalds corporate sets the price, not the franchise, and you will pay the same amount for your burger regardless of whether the franchise is paying McDonalds $100K/year in royalties or $500K/year in royalties.

On the flip side, this can also be beneficial to small manufacturers and lower-end consumers who want to have access to valuable IP in a more affordable product. Now someone buying a $200 phone can have the same technology in some respects as someone buying a $900 phone. That's great for consumers because luxury manufacturers are far less likely to pass savings on to consumers than low-end producers are to pass on cost.

Apple absolutely would not pass those savings onto the consumer. However, Samsung or Motorola might pass a new expense on to consumers. It's much easier for Apple not to lower the price than it is for a low cost phone to keep the price from going up.

At the end of the day, don't sign contracts you don't like. If Apple wants to pay less, then just lower the cost of the phone. Apple is not entitled to make a certain profit on their phone any more than Samsung or Motorola is.

Qualcomm says, "sell more phone for less money instead of less phones for more money, benefiting consumers, and we'll charge you less per phone." Sounds like a great deal for consumers. Apple doesn't want to operate on the strategy, so tough luck for them.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jarman92 Avatar
70 months ago
Correction, you don't like them. As for the the rest, yawn.
No, it's pretty clear that just about everyone in the industry hates Qualcomm. The US FTC is suing them, Apple is suing them, even Samsung filed an amicus brief in support of Apple/FTC. Qualcomm demands royalty payments for the entire price of any device using their chips; they charge more for a $1000 iPhone 7 than for a $600 one, even though they use the same parts...does this seem fair to you? And of course it's the consumer who ends up paying more for the ludicrous royalties.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
70 months ago
Although I was wondering why they were making payments like that. It's all very weird. I wonder if the contracts are contingent on Apple providing the funds though?
Qualcomm has had contracts with some of the iPhone factories starting years before the iPhone even existed. I think some as far back as 2002, and Foxconn since about 2005, IIRC.

Basically part of the cost of a phone is paying the royalties to various patent holders. Then the factory sells the completed phone to the brand name wholesaler/retailer (e.g. Apple). In this case, the royalty is on the price the factory sells the phone to Apple for, which is a LOT less than the huge profit markup they make later on.

Note that these contracts did not change when the factories started making iPhones. Nor does the contract change if any other modem is used. So no, Apple was not singled out for higher payments, nor were they prevented from using any modem they wished.

Then why aren't supplies paying QCOM directly? Why is Apple making the payments?
The factories are supposed to be paying QCOM directly. They always have. But Apple told the factories that they would no longer pay them for the QCOM part of the iPhone cost.

That leaves the factories in the lurch with millions of iPhones. They would rather give into Apple by selling them iPhones for less, and instead tell QCOM that they cannot pay the royalties.

The reality is that the factories should be suing Apple for breach of contract, but they're too scared to do so.

But this is a risky move for Apple...what's to stop Qualcomm from withholding their chips from Foxconn/Pegatron? Especially during the iPhone 8 ramp-up that would be devastating.
Apple is indeed lucky that most others do not play as nasty as they do.

Qualcomm demands royalty payments for the entire price of any device using their chips; they charge more for a $1000 iPhone 7 than for a $600 one, even though they use the same parts...does this seem fair to you? And of course it's the consumer who ends up paying more for the ludicrous royalties.
On the contrary, this pro-rated system is what allows for cheap phones which have led to more users, which leads to more network, which leads to more sales for the profit hungry high priced makers like Apple.

As for "fair", this is exactly how every other cellular patent license has worked for decades. Moreover, Apple itself loves charging by percentage of a sale:

Is it "fair" that every iPhone app developer pay Apple 30%, even though the cost of storing and serving each app is basically the same? Is it "fair" that Apple charge banks a percentage of every Apple Pay purchase, even though the same NFC hardware is used every time?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jarman92 Avatar
70 months ago
There is nothing at all unfair about a contract stipulating a percentage of the selling price as a royalty. Have you ever actually dealt with royalties? Every McDonalds franchise out there pays a royalty to McDonalds that is a percentage of gross sales. It doesn't matter how much you sell, you owe x% to McDonalds for the right to use their IP etc.

McDonalds corporate sets the price, not the franchise, and you will pay the same amount for your burger regardless of whether the franchise is paying McDonalds $100K/year in royalties or $500K/year in royalties.

On the flip side, this can also be beneficial to small manufacturers and lower-end consumers who want to have access to valuable IP in a more affordable product. Now someone buying a $200 phone can have the same technology in some respects as someone buying a $900 phone. That's great for consumers because luxury manufacturers are far less likely to pass savings on to consumers than low-end producers are to pass on cost.

Apple absolutely would not pass those savings onto the consumer. However, Samsung or Motorola might pass a new expense on to consumers. It's much easier for Apple not to lower the price than it is for a low cost phone to keep the price from going up.

At the end of the day, don't sign contracts you don't like. If Apple wants to pay less, then just lower the cost of the phone. Apple is not entitled to make a certain profit on their phone any more than Samsung or Motorola is.

Qualcomm says, "sell more phone for less money instead of less phones for more money, benefiting consumers, and we'll charge you less per phone." Sounds like a great deal for consumers. Apple doesn't want to operate on the strategy, so tough luck for them.
Except that's not how the law works. Companies don't get to charge whatever they want and say "if you don't like it, don't sign it." That's why FRAND exists. Qualcomm gets priveleged status for its patents in exchange for fair royalties. Instead, they are literally extorting tech companies: if you don't pay Qualcomm exactly what they want, you get nothing and they'll sue you if you remotely infringe on their patents. Further, if you DO use Qualcomm chips you owe them royalties for those chips AND for competitors chips, as well as the screen, battery, cameras, housing, antennas, etc. that Qualcomm had nothing to do with. The fact that you're defending Qualcomm here is just ludicrous.

Also your McDonalds example is not at all relevant.
[doublepost=1495733892][/doublepost]
Qualcomm has had contracts with some of the iPhone factories starting years before the iPhone even existed. I think some as far back as 2002, and Foxconn since about 2005, IIRC.

Basically part of the cost of a phone is paying the royalties to various patent holders. Then the factory sells the completed phone to the brand name wholesaler/retailer (e.g. Apple). In this case, the royalty is on the price the factory sells the phone to Apple for, which is a LOT less than the huge profit markup they make later on.

Note that these contracts did not change when the factories started making iPhones. Nor does the contract change if any other modem is used. So no, Apple was not singled out for higher payments, nor were they prevented from using any modem they wished.



The factories are supposed to be paying QCOM directly. They always have. But Apple told the factories that they would no longer pay them for the QCOM part of the iPhone cost.

That leaves the factories in the lurch with millions of iPhones. They would rather give into Apple by selling them iPhones for less, and instead tell QCOM that they cannot pay the royalties.

The reality is that the factories should be suing Apple for breach of contract, but they're too scared to do so.



Apple is indeed lucky that most others do not play as nasty as they do.



On the contrary, this pro-rated system is what allows for cheap phones which have led to more users, which leads to more network, which leads to more sales for the profit hungry high priced makers like Apple.

As for "fair", this is exactly how every other cellular patent license has worked for decades. Moreover, Apple itself loves charging by percentage of a sale:

Is it "fair" that every iPhone app developer pay Apple 30%, even though the cost of storing and serving each app is basically the same? Is it "fair" that Apple charge banks a percentage of every Apple Pay purchase, even though the same NFC hardware is used every time?
Yeah, it makes total sense that the company with a stranglehold on standards-essential wireless communication patents demanding exorbitant royalties from companies like Apple and Samsung leads to "cheap phones." Try to square that circle for all of us here and at the FTC as well, since they seem (correctly) to see Qualcomm's terms as extortion.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Skeleton Avatar
70 months ago
LOL! Qualcomm, who has quite an extensive portfolio of patents that are USED in Apple products and others, are evil. Meanwhile, Apple tries to get out of paying anything to everyone they can but this is OK? Typical thinking.
Qualcomm uses anti-competitive practices to force high prices and compliance. It's not to fuel costs for innovation, it's because they're evil. Nobody likes them. They need to go.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Skeleton Avatar
70 months ago
Correction, you don't like them. As for the the rest, yawn.
Correction, you yawn, as for the rest - just look at any tech community android or Apple. Qualcomm sucks.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...