The ongoing legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm just got a lot more intense, as four major iPhone suppliers filed counter claims against the chip maker.
The counter claims are lodged a couple of weeks after Qualcomm filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple, seeking to ban iPhones and iPads from being imported into the United States after being manufactured in China.
Four iPhone Suppliers Fire Back At Qualcomm
Compal Electronics, Pegatron, Wistron, and Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, claim that Qualcomm is trying to force them to pay licensing fees in excess of what it will normally receive.
The suppliers became involved in the legal battle when Qualcomm filed separate lawsuits against them for payments that it believes Apple owes the chip maker.
Apple is said to be covering the required legal fees for the defense being mounted by the iPhone suppliers. Apple will also be filing a separate motion to combine the counter claims of the iPhone suppliers with its own lawsuit against Qualcomm.
If Apple and the iPhone suppliers are successful in the lawsuit, Qualcomm stands to lose billions of dollars in refunded fees and damages.
Apple vs Qualcomm Continues
The dispute over Apple and Qualcomm revolves around fees that Qualcomm charges on all modern smartphones, even for those that do not use its Snapdragon chips. This revenue stream has made Qualcomm one of the richest companies in the telecommunications industry.
The legal battle started in January, when Apple launched a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm for overcharging billions of dollars, alleging illegal business practices. Apple insists that Qualcomm's royalties are not based on the market price of the technology, but rather on the cost of the iPhone. Earlier in the year, Apple CEO Tim Cook likened the situation to a sofa maker who changes the price of his products depending on the house that they are bought for.
While it is true that Qualcomm developed technology that is important in how modern smartphones operate, the cost of that technology is the subject of the debate, especially as smartphones continue to become more complex and expensive.
Qualcomm has also just filed two new patent infringement lawsuits against Apple, but this time, in courts in Germany. The patents, which discuss methods to transmit information without draining the life of batteries, are the European versions of the patents involved in Qualcomm's push to ban the entry of iPhones and iPads in the United States.
It appears that there is no end in sight for the legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm, especially with the addition of the four major iPhone suppliers as new players.