Apple and Qualcomm are no strangers to the courtroom, and the battle between the companies has been a long one with each claiming the other is doing things it shouldn’t.
Apple is unhappy Qualcomm is allegedly using its patents to force Apple into buying its modem chips at a higher price than what Apple says it should pay. Meanwhile, Qualcomm is accusing Apple of unpaid debt which according to a recent report could amount to a hefty sum of $4.5 billion for unpaid parts.
The two are locked in a battle of who can come out on top and the process is hurting both parties. Apple is reportedly planning to drop Qualcomm as a modem supplier for the iPhone while Qualcomm has gone to the Chinese courts to seek an injunction against the iPhone being sold in that country. None of these endeavors are cheap so are costing each side a lot of time and effort. The International Trade Commission will hold a hearing next week to hear Qualcomm’s case that claims Apple is infringing on some Qualcomm patents.
Qualcomm is also in court in Germany stating that all iPhone units that use Intel’s modem chips infringe on Qualcomm patents and are therefore seeking a ban on all iPhone sales in Germany. The European Patent Office is investigating whether Qualcomm’s patent is valid.
The legal battle is a long-standing and wide-reaching; Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matt Larson says that the two are involved in more than 50 separate intellectual property and antitrust suits filed in 16 jurisdictions, covering six countries. However, the effort to keep up this pace could force the companies into a settlement. Larson told clients that some upcoming court decisions due out in the second half of this year could motivate the two companies to settle before the year is over.
It doesn’t appear that Qualcomm will be backing down easily though:
“Initially, we found ourselves on the defensive, responding to the false narrative that Apple had seeded. Everyone knew Apple, and no one knew how much of Qualcomm was inside Apple’s products,” said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel. “I believe we’re in a transitional phase where our story is now out there, where the facts are speaking for themselves.”
No doubt the two sides will become wise to just how much money this battle is costing each party and reach a settlement.