Qualcomm sues Apple over underplaying performance of its chips

Qualcomm claimed Apple encouraged regulatory attacks against it around the globe.

Qualcomm also claims Apple violated California's unfair competition law by throttling the performance of Qualcomm's modems and then claiming there was "no discernible difference" in performance between iPhone 7s using Qualcomm's cellular modems and iPhone 7s with Intel chips.

In today's Qualcomm countersuit seeks for damages from Apple to not reaching the several agreements and to stop Apple interfering the deals with the iPhone and iPad parts manufacturing where Apple rejected Qualcomm's FRAND licensing offer. "It has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable terms from Qualcomm".

Apple sued Qualcomm in January for almost $1 billion over royalties, with Cupertino-based tech giant alleging the wireless chipmaker did not give fair licensing terms for its processor technology. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio.

The complaint said Qualcomm's practices amount to "unlawful maintenance of a monopoly in baseband processors", which are devices that enable cellular communications in phones and other products. In it Apple alleged that Qualcomm was withholding around $1 billion from Apple in retaliation for their cooperation with Korean authorities during an anti-trust investigation (another similar suit the United States with the FTC is ongoing) in addition to failing to adhere to FRAND licensing (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory).

QCOM said Apple breached agreements and interfered in its long-standing agreements with licensees that manufacture iPhones and iPads for Apple.

Now Qualcomm has retaliated with a series of counterclaims about what it evidently sees as underhand tactics by Apple. Under the terms of the Transition Agreement, Apple required Qualcomm to commit to pay Apple up to [redacted] as an incentive for Apple to procure Qualcomm's chipsets for use in its devices. Just after that, Apple filed two more lawsuits in Beijing's Intellectual Property Court over abusing its dominant position in the market, and patent licensing.

The Qualcomm filing is the latest episode in recent days in the hard relations between Apple and its technology suppliers and IP licensees.

"As merely one example, on August 17, 2016, Apple told the Korea Fair Trade Commission that "Apple has yet to add a [second chipset] supplier because of Qualcomm's exclusionary conduct".

Whether or not there are enough merits in Apple's arguments is something best left to experts and judges to decide though what can't be ignored is the fact that this isn't the first time Qualcomm has been dragged to court for the way it charges royalty fees.