filed lawsuits in China
seeking to ban the sale and manufacture of iPhones in the country, the chipmaker’s biggest shot at Apple
so far in a sprawling and bitter legal fight.
The San Diego-based company aims to inflict pain on Apple
in the world’s largest market for smartphones and cut off production in a country where most iPhones are made. The product provides almost two-thirds of Apple’s revenue. Qualcomm
filed the suits in a Beijing intellectual property court claiming patent infringement and seeking injunctive relief, according to Christine Trimble, a company spokeswoman.
employs technologies invented by Qualcomm
without paying for them,” Trimble said. An Apple
spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. Apple
shares gave up some gains from earlier on Friday, while Qualcomm
stock maintained small losses.
Qualcomm’s suits are based on three non-standard essential patents, it said. They cover power management and a touch screen technology
called Force Touch that Apple
uses in current iPhones, Qualcomm
said. The inventions “are a few examples of the many Qualcomm
technologies that Apple
uses to improve its devices and increase its profits,” Trimble said.
The company made the filings at the Beijing court on September 29. The court has not yet made them public.
The two companies are months into a legal dispute that centres on Qualcomm’s technology
licensing business. While Qualcomm
gets the majority of its sales from making phone chips, it pulls in most of its profit from charging fees for patents that cover the fundamentals of all modern phone systems.
The latest suits come at a crucial time for Apple.
It just introduced iPhone 8 and X models aimed at reasserting leadership in a market that’s steeped in competition from fast-growing Chinese makers. Suppliers and assemblers in China
are rushing to churn out as many new iPhones as possible ahead of the key holiday season, so any disruptions would likely be costly. The Greater China
region accounted for 22.5 per cent of Apple’s $215.6 billion sales in its most recent financial year.
The legal battle started earlier this year when Apple
filed an antitrust suit against Qualcomm
arguing that the chipmaker’s licensing practices are unfair, and that it abused its position as the biggest supplier of chips in phones. Qualcomm
charges a percentage of the price of each handset regardless of whether it includes a chip from the company, and Apple
is sick of paying those fees.
has countered with a patent suit and argued that Cupertino, California-based Apple
encouraged regulators from South Korea to the US to take action against it based on false testimony.