Qualcomm tells court that Apple is trying to destroy its business
Qualcomm Technologies Inc. has upped the war on words in its dispute with Apple Inc., accusing the iPhone maker of trying to destroy its business.
The allegation was raised at a court hearing on Friday in relation to a lawsuit filed by Apple in January 2017. That suit alleges that Qualcomm demands excessive royalty fee payments for cell phone technology patents it holds.
“They’re trying to destroy our business,” Qualcomm lawyer Evan Chesler told the Federal Court in San Diego. “They’re now $7 billion dollars behind in royalties. The house is on fire and there is $7 billion of property damage right now.”
Apple is arguing that Qualcomm has been charging it excessive patent licensing fees for years, as one of its conditions for allowing it to use its microprocessors in its iPhones and iPad devices. Qualcomm argues in response that Apple has breached and mischaracterized agreements and negotiations between the two firms, interfered with its agreements with other device manufacturers, encouraged regulatory attacks against it across the world and more.
The relationship between the two companies has long passed any point of civility, with Bloomberg estimating that there are now about 100 court cases currently filed worldwide between the two companies in relation to the patent dispute.
Messy doesn’t come close to describing the current state of affairs. Qualcomm attempted to have sales of iPhones banned in July 2017 on patent grounds, after which Apple filed a suit in November 2017 claiming that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors breach its patents.
In a separate lawsuit, also in November, Qualcomm accused Apple of leaking its software to Intel Corp. before upping the ante further in September in a new lawsuit that accuses Apple of stealing its microchip designs and giving them to Intel.
In July, Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf said at a conference that he expected the matter to be settled between the two companies, but three months on, neither company appears to be prepared to blink.
With Qualcomm now alleging that Apple has cost it $7 billion in lost revenue, it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to back down anytime soon. Meanwhile Apple, the world’s largest company by market capitalization, also has a massive war chest of nearly $250 billion cash on hand as of July, meaning it can easily afford a long battle.
The only people winning so far, it seems, are the lawyers.
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