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.

Popular Stories

6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Tuesday May 21, 2024 7:29 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...

Top Rated Comments

BootsWalking Avatar
74 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
74 months ago
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DipDog3 Avatar
74 months ago
Too bad intel couldn’t make sense of the stolen information. Their chips still suck.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FWRN Avatar
74 months ago
Qualcomm is a bitter ex who can't move on.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
74 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
74 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)