Apple and Qualcomm once again embroiled in legal battle

Reuters reported yesterday that Apple had filed a countersuit against Qualcomm in which it claims that the company’s Snapdragon chips (used in countless Android devices) represent an infringement on its own patents.

This comes after Qualcomm pursued a ban on the import of the iPad and iPhone into the US earlier this year. At the time, the tech firm said Apple infringed on no fewer than six of its patents related to carrier technologies and aggregation. These were created to enable iPhones to preserve battery life during the communication process.

Apple denied the allegations.

The Cupertino company’s new counter lawsuit leads the claim that it is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips that infringe on patents. According to the legal documents, Qualcomm infringes on “at least” eight battery life patents held by Apple. These are related to ensuring that every part of the device’s processor uses no more power than is absolutely necessary for its performance, making sure that wake-sleep functions provide an optimised user experience, and that certain processor parts are powered down when not in use.

The documents specifically refer to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 and 800 processors used in Google and Samsung smartphones.

In the complaint, the firm claims that: “Apple began seeking those patents years before Qualcomm began seeking the patents it asserts against Apple in this case”.

This has been a hectic year in the ongoing rivalry of Apple versus Qualcomm, predominantly played out in court battles. In January, the Federal Trade Commission said Qualcomm was involved in anti-competitive patent licensing activities. Not long after, Apple sued the company for one billion dollars because it was forced to pay “unfair” royalties for “technologies they have nothing to do with”.

Qualcomm countersued Apple in April and things have gone from bad to worse ever since.

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