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





One thought on “Apple Fights Qualcomm Patents With 5G And National Security Claims”

  1. A classic case of possible Patent Infringement and Invalidation claims happening simultaneously. At the onset, Qualcomm stood the prima facie gainer with not having to opt for Invalidation Counter claims on Apple Patents’, effectively wanting to nullify Apple’s claims of Patent Infringement claiming Qualcomm’s Modem Licensing Fee includes 5G networking technology as well! An out of court settlement seems the viable solution at the end of it! Qualcomm seems to be the take away all in case of an out of court settlement along with any possible ban of Iphones with Intel Modems. Apple wanting to block Licensing revenues of Qualcomm is the only counter that they seem to hold on for the moment! An interesting case after the Apple/Samsung Patent War that ended again in an out of court previously! A licensing war it seems more than a patent war!! Awaiting a decision from the US Courts on this one though!!

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