Qualcomm Accuses Apple of Stealing LTE Modem Trade Secrets and Giving Them to Intel [Updated]

Qualcomm has accused Apple of stealing confidential information and trade secrets, and passing them on to rival chipmaker Intel, according to a court document filed Monday and reported by several media outlets.

qualcomm iphone
For background, Qualcomm agreed that Apple could have access to its source code and tools for LTE modems, but with limitations. Qualcomm believes that Apple proceeded to share the information with Intel to help improve its LTE modems, allowing Apple to stop using Qualcomm's modems in the latest iPhones.

Axios's Ina Fried shared an excerpt from Qualcomm's complaint:

Although discovery is ongoing, it is clear that Apple's conduct went far beyond simply breaching the contract originally sued on. Indeed, it is now apparent Apple engaged in a years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge designed to steal Qualcomm's confidential information and trade secrets for the purpose of improving the performance of lower-quality modem chipsets, with the ultimate goal of eliminating Qualcomm's Apple-based business.

Qualcomm already sued Apple in November 2017 based on suspicions the iPhone maker was using the chipmaker's trade secrets in wrongful ways. Now, Qualcomm is more confident and direct about its accusation.

Don Rosenberg, General Counsel of Qualcomm, in a statement provided to MacRumors:

Once again Apple has flouted its contractual commitments and misappropriated Qualcomm's property rights in an effort to improve its performance and increase its profits.

The code, tools and design details of Qualcomm's modem technology which are the subjects of this litigation represent the genius and labors of our dedicated engineers. We have only the rule of law to protect them.

The lawsuit is scheduled to be heard in April 2019, but Qualcomm's proposed amendment could delay the trial, which is one of over a dozen lawsuits waged between the two companies. Apple initially sued Qualcomm in June 2017 for $1 billion in unpaid royalties, and later for patent infringement.

iFixit's teardown of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max uncovered an Intel modem in both devices, a few months after Qualcomm said Apple was unlikely to use its own modems in the latest iPhones. Qualcomm was Apple's exclusive provider of modems until Intel was added as a second supplier for the iPhone 7 lineup.

Update: MacRumors has obtained a copy of Qualcomm's motion, embedded below.

Top Rated Comments

BootsWalking Avatar
35 months ago
Qualcomm seems like such a petty, vengeful company. "Oh, you're not going to use our products anymore? We'll bury you in nuisance lawsuits!!!"

I'm glad Apple dropped them; hopefully others see how toxic they are and drop them too, though most companies don't have the resources to fight these lawsuits like Apple does.
Or they're a company who spent billions on their technology and want to see it protected. If Apple can sue someone for copying their rounded corners on a phone then I don't see why it's out of bounds for Qualcomm to sue for something of actual value.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JimmyBanks6 Avatar
35 months ago
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DipDog3 Avatar
35 months ago
Too bad intel couldn’t make sense of the stolen information. Their chips still suck.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FWRN Avatar
35 months ago
Qualcomm is a bitter ex who can't move on.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
35 months ago
Qualcomm seems like such a petty, vengeful company. "Oh, you're not going to use our products anymore? We'll bury you in nuisance lawsuits!!!"

I'm glad Apple dropped them; hopefully others see how toxic they are and drop them too, though most companies don't have the resources to fight these lawsuits like Apple does.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
monster620ie Avatar
35 months ago
Or they're a company who has spent billions on their technology and want to see it protected. If Apple can sue someone for copying their rounded corners on a phone then I don't see why it's out of bounds for Qualcomm to sue for something of actual value.
Exactly. Are the folks here thinking that apple is a saint? Apple is quick to sue others - example fixing etc and definitely sues others for intellectual property. So why is it wrong for them to be sued when they do the very same thing they accuse others of?
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
m1 ipad pro early customer

M1 iPad Pro Arrives Early for Lucky Customer

Saturday May 15, 2021 11:57 pm PDT by
Days ahead of their expected launch and seemingly before official review embargoes lift, one lucky customer has already gotten their hands on the brand new 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro. Reddit User PeterDragon50 Posted on Reddit, u/PeterDragon50 has already received their 12.9-inch iPad Pro through retailer Nebraska Furniture Mart. The Reddit user says they placed their order when pre-orders...
Twitter Feature

Twitter's 'Blue' Subscription Service May Cost $2.99, Will Offer Undo Tweet Option

Saturday May 15, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Twitter has been working on some kind of subscription service since last summer, and Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs into new features coming in apps, has shared details on just what Twitter is exploring. Twitter's subscription service could be called Twitter Blue, and at the current time, it's priced at $2.99 per month. There will be a "Collections" section that allows users to save and...
magic mouse space gray discontinued

Apple Discontinuing Space Gray Mac Accessories Now That iMac Pro is Dead

Friday May 14, 2021 11:52 am PDT by
Following the discontinuation of the iMac Pro, Apple also appears to be discontinuing Space Gray "Magic" accessories that it sold separately alongside the iMac Pro. The iMac Pro was the only Space Gray Mac, and Apple designed special matching accessories for it. The Space Gray Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad all now say "While supplies last" in small wording at the bottom...
tile amazon sidewalk integration

Apple Says Tile Trackers Sold Poorly in Apple Stores

Friday May 14, 2021 4:53 am PDT by
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products." Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance...
apple music change forever

Apple Music Teaser: 'Get Ready – Music is About to Change Forever'

Sunday May 16, 2021 2:39 pm PDT by
The Browse tab in the Music app across Apple's platforms has started displaying a prominent teaser hinting at an upcoming major announcement for Apple Music. Under the heading "Coming soon," the headline says "Get ready – music is about to change forever." An accompanying "Tune-In Video" simply shows an animated Apple Music logo. Rumors have indicated that Apple is preparing to launch a...
Top Stories 60 Feature

Top Stories: M1 iMac Benchmarks, iPhone Battery Life Tips, Colorful MacBook Air?

Saturday May 15, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
Anticipation is building for the new iMac and iPad Pro models, which have started shipping out ahead of a launch around May 21. Benchmarks for the new machines are starting to come in, and the M1 chips inside of them are registering at around the same figures seen with other M1-based Macs, making for significant upgrades over previous-generation models. This week also saw some rumors about...
syng cell alpha

Longtime Apple Designer Christopher Stringer's Latest Project Is a High-Fidelity Speaker With AirPlay 2

Friday May 14, 2021 7:30 am PDT by
Christopher Stringer, a key member of Jony Ive's design team who spent 21 years at Apple before departing in 2017, is resurfacing today with his new venture Syng, which seeks to make an impact in the high-end audio market. Stringer, who contributed to many of the most iconic product designs in Apple's history, announced his plans roughly a year ago, and Syng is today introducing its flagship ...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...