At one end, Qualcomm has filed a fresh lawsuit against Apple, where it is demanding a significant portion of iPhones to be removed from shelves before Christmas because of a patent infringement. On the other side, customers are rushing to buy an iPhone X for the festive season. Which means, the supply shortages of the smartphone may worsen quite a bit.
For a while now, Apple and Qualcomm have been fighting a heated legal battle based on patent complaints, such as the wireless communication technology pioneered by Qualcomm. But it was Apple who threw the first punch in January, alleging that Qualcomm did not give them fair licensing terms.
However, things really got intense, leaving Apple on the edge, when last week Qualcomm responded sternly and took its case to the US International Trade Commission (ITC), requesting to block any iPhone models that use Intel’s modem, which has been used on certain US carrier models since the iPhone 7.
As reported by Bloomberg, the original suit alleges that Apple may have shared the proprietary code of Qualcomm’s highly confidential software to aid Intel.
According to more recent filings, as reported by IBTimes, Apple said the iPhone was “the reason consumers fell in love with smartphones”. “Qualcomm’s paid advertising makes wildly inflated claims about its role in the development of the smartphone, but the facts show that it was Apple that put an easy-to-use computer-phone in the palm of people’s hands, not Qualcomm.”
In response CNet reported Qualcomm calling on ITC saying, “Apple can import iPhones (regardless of who supplies the modems) that do not infringe the patents asserted in this action, but Apple has no inherent right to infringe Qualcomm’s [non-standards essential patent] through the sale of its iPhones. Preventing such infringement, and thereby rewarding innovation, is the very purpose for which the patent system was designed.”
Further, a recent report WSJ suggests that Apple is reportedly designing iPhones and iPads for 2018 that will not feature chips by Qualcomm. The company is apparently exploring to get its modem chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek.
Qualcomm is slated to report its financial results for the third quarter of 2017 later this week. The company’s shares have declined more than 15 percent over the year, according to TechCrunch.