ITC launching investigation into Apple over Qualcomm’s allegations of patent infringement

Qualcomm last month officially filed a patent infringement suit against Apple, seeking an import ban on select iPhone models. Now, the chipmaker has announced that the International Trade Commission has commenced an investigation into Apple based on its complaint…

Qualcomm says that the investigation will examine whether Apple has engaged in “unfair trade practices by importing and selling certain mobile electronic devices,” specifically related to six of its patents. Just as it announced last month, Qualcomm is asking the ITC to implement a “Limited Exclusion Order” that would block imports of iPhones and iPads that unlawfully use modems covered by one of the six patents.

Qualcomm is, of course, pleased with the ITC’s decision to move forward with an investigation, even though it could be up to 18 months until a decision is handed down.

“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.”

When pressed for comment, Apple stuck to the same statement it has been giving since June (via CNET):

“Qualcomm’s illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry. They supply us with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products – effectively taxing Apple’s innovation.”

It shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that the ITC is launching an investigation into Apple over Qualcomm’s claims. It’s a case of the ITC doing its due diligence more than anything, as there’s no concrete evidence that Qualcomm’s claims carry any merit yet. That, of course, could change.

Nevertheless, this is the latest revelation in what feels like a constantly escalating legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm. While Apple has received support from tech companies such as Intel, Samsung, and Alphabet, Qualcomm has stuck to its case.

With the ITC investigation moving forward, it seems like we’re in for a long and drawn out legal battle, despite both sides indicating they would rather settle.


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