Qualcomm Seeks iPhone and iPad Import Ban in the United States

The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple continues to escalate, with Qualcomm asking the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to block imports of select iPhone and iPad models, reports Fortune. Qualcomm also wants to stop sales of devices that are already in the United States and has filed a new patent infringement case against Apple in the Southern District of California.

According to Qualcomm, Apple is infringing on six Qualcomm patents related to carrier aggregation and technologies that are designed to allow iPhones to save battery life while communicating. The six patents cited by Qualcomm were granted between 2013 and 2017 and are not licensed or standard-essential patents that are part of the ongoing Qualcomm v. Apple battle over royalty payments.


Qualcomm is asking the ITC to block all iPhones that are equipped with LTE chips from competing mobile communications companies, which would include AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models equipped with Intel chips, along with some iPad models. In an interview, Qualcomm lawyer Don Rosenberg said Qualcomm is pursuing another lawsuit and an import ban because Apple is not willing to pay for the technology it uses.

"If Apple was a willing licensee and Apple was someone who was, like everybody else, willing to pay for what they use, we wouldn't be suing them on these patents," Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel, said in an interview. "But they're not, and we felt we were put in a position, given all the lawsuits they've brought against us around the world, of not simply having to defend ourselves but having to take some affirmative action ourselves."

As noted in Qualcomm's ITC request, a possible ban on the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and future iPhones wouldn't happen for approximately 18 months, so it would not affect the devices Apple plans to release in September of 2017. Qualcomm expects the ITC to look into the complaint in August and schedule a trial for 2018, and it believes the new patent infringement case filed today could be put on hold until the ITC makes a decision on the import ban.

The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm kicked off in January, when the FTC complained that Qualcomm had engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices. Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion shortly after, accusing the company of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and refusing to pay quarterly rebates.

Qualcomm countersued in April, accusing Apple of breaching licensing agreements, making false statements, and encouraging regulatory attacks against Qualcomm, which prompted Apple to stop making royalty payments to Qualcomm entirely until a court can determine the proper amount due.

Since then, the two companies have been fighting a bitter public battle. Apple in late June expanded its lawsuit against Qualcomm and accused the wireless chipmaker of "double-dipping" with unfair patent licensing agreements. According to Apple, Qualcomm has overcharged it by billions of dollars, while Qualcomm says its innovations are "at the heart of every iPhone."

Alongside its dispute with Apple, Qualcomm is also now facing an FTC lawsuit for using anticompetitive tactics to remain the dominant supplier of baseband processors for smartphones.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
43 months ago

I don't believe that's what this is truly about. It seems it's more of Qualcomm saying that they should get more from Apple because they enable the iPhone to do X amount of things by extension of their products being in them.

Actually, Qualcomm isn't and can't say that because it would be an admission that they are in violation of FRAND, with the ND being non-discriminitory for those patents that are considered essential. One of Apple's central arguments is that they are being charged more for the same technology because Qualcomm is charging based on price of phone, which means every time Apple develops or adds something new, e.g., OLED screen, to a phone, Qualcomm gets paid more. The other argument that has Qualcomm wetting its pants is the double-dipping argument. Based on the recent Supreme Court decision with Lexmark printers that, in essence, says you can't charge for the equipment and then demand a license to use it (Lexmark wanted to prevent companies/customers from refilling their used cartridges and the Court said license for customers went along with purchase), it has to be one or the other. Qualcomm has been doing exactly that and a fair reading of the Lexmark case is that Qualcomm has overcharged Apple and others billions of dollars and the license to use their chips should be inherent in the purchase of the chips. If the courts agree with Apple, Qualcomm will be decimated. These lawsuits by Qualcomm are merely trying, perhaps futilely, to gain some leverage by putting issues on the table to negotiate their way out of the quagmire they are in. Keep in mind they are being sued by other companies and by more than one government.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Won’t happen.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

Apple should just pay up or develop their own technology.

Patents are often broad enough that you cannot legally develop your own technology.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
In other news, snowfall was reported in Hell.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
I'll preface my question with "I don't pay much attention to this or have much knowledge about it" but:

Does this seem like Qualcomm is trying to get anything they can before Apple makes the full switch to Intel in the US as carriers migrate fully to LTE and away from CDMA?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

I mean, all this time Qualcomm was allowing Apple to use these patents without any kind of payments??? And only now that they are in a legal battle, they decided to sue them on these??? Is that was Qualcomm is saying?

What they are REALLY saying is that they are mad Apple is also working with Intel, and they are throwing the “i didn’t want to come to your stupid party anyway” tantrum. It’s basically Imagination Technology but the screaming brat is older and throws more plates.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...

Reliable Leaker Suggests AirTags 'Coming Soon' in Two Different Sizes

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Apple's rumored AirTags Bluetooth tracking devices could launch imminently and will be available in two size options, based on new tweets from cryptic-but-reliable leaker L0vetodream. In typical enigmatic style, the leaker first tweeted this morning that a "big one" and a "small one" are "coming soon," but withheld what they were referring to. However that was followed an hour later with the ...