US chipmaker Qualcomm is attempting to strike a devastating blow to Apple’s operations, with a lawsuit seeking to ban the manufacture and sale of the iPhone in China.
In the latest legal barb, the Snapdragon manufacturer has filed a suit in Beijing claiming the iPhone uses three non-standard essential patents Apple is no longer paying to license.
The intellectual property writ is significant given the vast majority of iPhones are manufactured in China, which is also the world’s largest smartphone market.
Related: iPhone X
Apple is currently rushing to manufacture as many iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X models as possible, during its busiest sales period of the year.
If Qualcomm were to succeed, Apple’s ability to quickly assemble iPhones would be gutted, while sales of iPhone devices would take a heavy hit.
“Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them,” Qualcomm spokesperson Christine Trimble told Bloomberg.
The patented innovations “are a few examples of the many Qualcomm technologies that Apple uses to improve its devices and increase its profits,” Trimble added.
The parents relate to the Force Touch touchscreen tech used in iPhones as well as the way Apple’s handsets manage power.
Suit and countersuit
Qualcomm’s latest move is part of its countersuit against the antitrust claims Apple filed against it earlier this year.
Cupertino’s legal team sued Qualcomm for $1 billion claiming that the company’s patent licensing practices abused its position as the world’s leading chipmaker.
Although Apple doesn’t use Snapdragon processors in its iPhones, it’s still on the hook for many of the patents Qualcomm owns.
However, Apple has now cut off those payments costing Qualcomm an estimated $2 billion a year in revenue. As a result the firm’s shares are down almost 20 per cent.
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