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Trade Commission agrees to investigate Apple for alleged Qualcomm patent violation

The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it will be investigating Apple following allegations from Qualcomm that the Cupertino-based company infringed on Qualcomm's patents with the iPhone 7. Some models of iPhone 7 use an Intel modem rather than a Qualcomm one, and while Qualcomm does not claim that the modem itself violates any patents, Apple's implementation of that modem reportedly does.

Earlier this summer, Qualcomm filed the claim in early July, and is seeking to keep the infringing products from being imported into the U.S. Going back further, Intel and Samsung filed a statement in support of the ITC's investigation into Qualcomm's licensing agreements, specifically whether those agreement violate Qualcomm's Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) commitments. On the other side, a group of companies, including Alphabet (Google's parent), Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, support Apple in this case, saying that pursuing this reported patent violation will ultimately harm consumers and the market in general.

Qualcomm released the following statement:

SAN DIEGO — August 8, 2017 — Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) today announced that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has commenced an investigation into Apple Inc.The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Qualcomm on July 7, 2017. The investigation will examine whether Apple has engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling certain mobile electronic devices, including iPhones and iPads that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents. Qualcomm is requesting that the ITC issue a Limited Exclusion Order to bar importation, and a Cease and Desist Order to bar further sales and marketing in the United States, of iPhones and iPads that use cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm's affiliates."Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC's decision to investigate Apple's unfair trade practices and the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm's patents," said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm. "We look forward to the ITC's expeditious investigation of Apple's ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the Commission can provide."

The ITC plans to complete this investigation in the next 45 days.

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12 Comments
  • Patent wars 2: the oh no not this againening.
  • While I don't believe that Qualcomm is following FRAND and they should be sued to actually get them to comply, I'm not okay with the way Apple is handling the situation.
    Until a judge orders Qualcomm to play fairly you're still bound by your current licensing agreements.
    Apple is openly violating agreements they've already made with Qualcomm and forced Qualcomm to take legal action to actually protect that agreement. Since Qualcomm hasn't been forced to change their policies as of yet, I have no doubt the ITC will find Apple is in direct violation. I doubt we actually see a import ban, but Apple is still legally in the wrong until Qualcomm is found to have illegal FRAND policies.
  • Apple vs Samsung 2.0
  • I'm rooting for Qualcomm!
  • Why? You're siding against pretty much every other tech company at this point and siding with a company that is abusing SEP to hold back competitors?
  • Apple doesn't have the right to stop making payments until a judge actually says Qualcomm is in the wrong, and even then it will likely be that Qualcomm has to start playing fair but they won't demand back payment on Qualcomm's part. Apple is doing a good job at bringing attention to the matter, but legally they are still required to pay Qualcomm what has been agreed upon.
  • Cause it's the right thing to do you signed it own up to it
  • We all lose if Qualcomm wins.
  • How so apple needs to own up to the contract they signed. I say if apple can opt out of a contract then everyone will
  • Yup, Qualcomm has destroyed the global smartphone market! We will all be able to save fifteen cents on our next phone. /s
  • Apple is the richest company in the world. They have a responsibility to uphold their end of agreements. They have the ability to crush entire industries with decisions like this. Perhaps it is time to split Apple up?
  • Are just stop buying there stuff