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Apple Fights Qualcomm Patents With 5G And National Security Claims

Apple and Qualcomm’s long battle over patent licensing fees has taken a surprising turn due to 5G and national security concerns. The International Trade Commission hearing in Washington, D.C may block the import of certain iPhones that allegedly to violate Qualcomm patents.

A very peculiar claim by Apple says that banning iPhones made with patent-infringing Intel modems might threaten United States national security. Apple makes iPhones that alternate between Qualcomm and Intel modems, a ban affecting only Intel’s modem would increase Qualcomm business. In new generation iPhones the performance of Intel’s 4G cellular chips are not as good compared to Qualcomm’s processor but Apple have relied upon Intel’s modem because of differences over Qualcomm’s patent licensing fees. Intel is working on developing 5G modems at this point of time which can put US ahead of China in the race of 5G. So hurting Intel’s modem sale might affect the country’s national interest.

The gist of the lawsuits : Apple is saying that Qualcomm abused it’s monopolistic market position and charged the company five times more in payments than all other cellular patent licensors they have agreements with, combined, relating to baseband processors used in iPhones. The legal tussle between Apple and Qualcomm seems far from over but Qualcomm has high hopes that a victory will give it an edge in patent royalty negotiation with Apple which it has perceived as a very challenging customer.

Qualcomm denies that any wrong has been committed and slams Apple on numerous accounts. It also accused Apple of “giving government agencies false and misleading information and testimony” about the company, and for interfering with contracts it has with “manufacturers of Apple’s cellular devices.” In addition to this Qualcomm claims Apple has intentionally misrepresented the performance of iPhones with it’s modems.

It’s not fair to blame Apple for wanting to break away from the monopoly of Qualcomm on iPhone modems, and Qualcomm obviously wants to be omnipresent in the hands of maximum number of people .

Whatever be the result, our phone isn’t as good as it could be because of a very ugly corporate tussle.

Author: Ms. Tanuja Prasad, Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at [email protected].




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