Qualcomm has filed a $31 million lawsuit against Apple for allegedly violating the chipmaker's intellectual property (IP). The company said Apple had used three of its technology patents on some versions of the iPhone without permission from the chipmaker.
Qualcomm is seeking damages of $1.40 for every infringed device.
One of the patents Apple supposedly used allows mobile devices to connect to the internet quickly once they are turned on, while another deals with how processors and modems handle app downloading. The third patent manages a device's battery life and graphics processing.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego has opened an eight-day trial to determine whether Apple did indeed infringed on Qualcomm's IP.
The $31 million claim was based on calculations provided by economist Patrick Kennedy, who was brought in by Qualcomm as an expert witness. Kennedy said the amount factors in every iPhone sold between July 2017 and last fall that contained Intel chips.
Apple has used Qualcomm components for most of its earlier iPhones. However, the company began using Intel modems for some of its iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models in 2016. Apple has since switched over to Intel chips for all of its latest smartphones.
During cross-examination, Apple's defense counsel challenged Kennedy's estimations. The company's lawyer Joe Mueller argued that the figures, which were based on a technical analysis conducted by another Qualcomm witness, were exaggerating the value of the patents in question.
Qualcomm vs Apple
Qualcomm's patent case against Apple is part of a two-year legal spat between two of the world's biggest tech companies.
In 2017, Apple filed an antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm for engaging in illegal patent practices to keep its dominant position in the market. The company was supported by Intel and the Federal Trade Commission in its claim.
In January, Apple COO Jeff Williams testified in court accusing Qualcomm of overcharging the iPhone maker for every patent used. He said Apple had to pay $7.50 per iPhone, which should only have been a fifth of the amount.
"We have been unable to get them to support us on new design wins past that time [when Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm]," Williams claimed. "This has been a challenge."
Qualcomm responded by suing Apple for infringing on its intellectual property.
Earlier this week, Apple thought it had lost a key witness in the patent case. Former engineer Arjuno Siva was supposed to appear in court on Thursday but failed to board his flight to San Diego. Apple's attorneys accused Qualcomm of tampering with their witness.
Apple later announced that Siva has retained a new lawyer and is scheduled to testify on Monday, March. 11.
Siva is important to Apple's defense since he was the co-creator of one of the patents Qualcomm is contesting. However, the chipmaker did not give Siva credit when it registered the patent and even downplayed the engineer's contributions.
Qualcomm and Apple's legal drama is set to reach its climax when the tech companies meet again in April, when the antitrust lawsuit against the chipmaker heads to trial.