Apple Argues Qualcomm's Chip Licenses are Invalid

The legal tussle between Apple and Qualcomm is just getting interesting as the days pass by.

One of the biggest court fights in Silicon Valley flared up again Tuesday, as Apple alleged "mounting evidence" against chip maker Qualcomm's royalty payment system partly due to a recent Supreme Court ruling. Apple is intensifying its legal battle with Qualcomm over the technology in iPhones and iPads as Apple seeks to void some of the chip maker's patent claims and licensing agreements. Allegedly, Qualcomm has a regular practice of making its customers sign a patent license agreement, before selling them chips.

Apple sued San Diego-based Qualcomm in January, saying the chip maker improperly withheld $1 billion in rebates because Apple helped Korean regulators investigate Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has said its patents that cover key cellular communications technology are essential to smartphones and that the iPhone wouldn't exist without Qualcomm developing those technologies and agreeing to license them.

Qualcomm should be allowed to charge for either a patent license or a chip, but not both, Apple argued.

The Lexmark case found that the printer company had no right to use patent law to stop third-party companies reselling used ink cartridges, effectively suggesting that Lexmark could either sell or licence the cartridges but not both. Rather than focus only on Apple, the company is arguing that Qualcomm's impact is much broader.

Apple argues it is entitled to restitution of all excessive license fees it has paid and wants to set a "fair and reasonable" royalty. Apple is now less dependent on Qualcomm because Intel makes similar chips.

The battle between Apple and Qualcomm has been raging since the year began and we've covered major developments as noted in the 11 reports below.

  • Zachary Reyes