Qualcomm Files New Lawsuits Seeking iPhone Ban in China

Qualcomm is making another move against Apple.                  Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

US Chipmaker Qualcomm is attempting to strike a devastating blow to Apple's operations, with a lawsuit seeking to ban the manufacture and sale of the iPhone in China. The product provides nearly two-thirds of Apple's revenue.

"Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them", Qualcomm spokesperson Christine Trimble told Bloomberg.

Update: Qualcomm's suits pertain to three non-standard essential patents and the claims were filed in a Beijing court on September 29. The Cupertino company has historically used Qualcomm's modems in its phones, though it's recently switched to Intel chips for that objective.

The latest suits come at a crucial time for Apple. 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.

"Apple believes deeply in the value of innovation, and we have always been willing to pay fair and reasonable rates for patents we use". However, China has been Apple's fastest-growing market until pretty recently, and it's where iPhones are manufactured.

This legal battle kicked off in January, when Apple filed a lawsuit claiming that Qualcomm was holding payments for ransom. The deal now in place still requires that Apple pay a fee regardless of whether the phone includes a Qualcomm chip, though.

If Qualcomm were to succeed, Apple's ability to quickly assemble iPhones would be gutted, while sales of iPhone devices would take a heavy hit. Earlier this week, Qualcomm was fined a record NT$23.4 billion ($773 million) by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission, a ruling the company is appealing.

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