As other tech companies voice support for Apple, Qualcomm says iPhone import ban wouldn’t hurt competition


As the legal saga between the two continues, Qualcomm is firing back after a host of tech companies came out in support of Apple last week. The chip maker is accusing the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a group that consists of companies such as Google, Samsung, and Facebook, of waging a “coordinated effort aimed at misdirecting” government regulators.

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Earlier this month, Qualcomm filed a patent infringement suit against Apple seeking an import ban on iPhone models that use modem chips “other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.” Essentially, this is an indirect way of saying iPhones with Intel modems. The CCIA last week came out in support of Apple, saying that such an import ban would only harm consumers by driving up smartphone prices.

Qualcomm fired back today in a filing, explaining that its import ban has nothing to do with Intel chips specifically, but rather the patented technology that they encapsulate. For this reason, Qualcomm believes that an import ban would not have a long-term effect on smartphone competition (via Reuters):

“Apple can purchase and utilize any LTE modem it chooses so long as it does not infringe Qualcomm’s asserted patents,” the company wrote.

Qualcomm was quick to note in its filing that other companies, such as MediaTek, Samsung, and Marvell Technology Group all make modems that could supply the smartphone industry should Intel’s offerings be affected by an import ban or other regulatory rulings.

The chip maker also notes that Apple has turned manufacturers like Foxconn against it as well. It was reported earlier this month that Apple has been helping its manufacturers fund legal battles against Qualcomm.

When pressed for comment, Apple reiterated its position in the legal case saying Qualcomm provides the company “with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products – effectively taxing Apple’s innovation.”

The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple has been picking up momentum recently as the entire tech industry joins forces. Qualcomm, despite its constant escalation of the case, seems willing to settle outside of court, something Tim Cook initially said he would prefer to do. Whether or not that will actually happen remains to be seen, but given the breadth of the case at this point, it seems unlikely.

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