Qualcomm countersues Apple in fight over smartphone chips

Qualcomm countersues Apple in fight over smartphone chips
© Getty Images

Qualcomm filed a countersuit against Apple late Monday accusing the tech giant of making “false statements” and breaching several agreements between the two companies.

It's the latest salvo in a fight over the parts used in iPhones and rival smartphones from Apple's competitors.

Apple had sued Qualcomm in January alleging that it was overcharging for the chips used in their phones. Apple accused the company of using its position as a top manufacturer of phone parts to shake down companies for hefty fees.

Qualcomm gets fees for the actual chips as well as royalties when the phones are sold.

The Apple suit came just days after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hit Qualcomm with an antitrust suit.


On Monday, Qualcomm hit back.

“[Apple] has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, said in a statement.

“We intend to vigorously defend our business model, and pursue our right to protect and receive fair value for our technological contributions to the industry.”

Qualcomm is alleging that Apple breached contracts, interfered with the company’s agreements with its licensees, prodded governments to crack down on the chipmaker by “misrepresenting facts and making false statements” and downplayed the performance of Qualcomm-made parts in Apple products.

Asked to respond to the countersuit, an Apple spokesman pointed The Hill to a statement the company put out when it filed its Jan. 20 case, accusing Qualcomm of unfair trade practices.

“Qualcomm built its business on older, legacy, standards but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties,” Apple said in the statement. “Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined.”

The FTC’s lawsuit also accused Qualcomm of anticompetitive practices by using its dominance to overcharge for its products.

Qualcomm recently filed a motion in federal court to get that case dismissed, arguing that the Obama administration filed it on shaky legal ground just days before President Trump was sworn in.