Qualcomm Sues To Stop iPhone Production In China

Qualcomm and Apple continue their legal battles. This time, Qualcomm has filed lawsuits in China to ban the sale and manufacture of iPhones in the country, claiming patent infringement and seeking injunctive relief.

According to Bloomberg Technology, San Diego-based Qualcomm filed the suits in a Beijing intellectual property court to hinder Apple’s business in the world’s largest market for smartphones. The Greater China region accounted for 22.5 percent of Apple’s $215.6 billion sales in its most recent fiscal year. Qualcomm also aims to cut off production in a country where most iPhones are made, and do so right before the critical holiday season hits.

“Apple employs technologies invented by Qualcomm without paying for them,” said Christine Trimble, a Qualcomm spokeswoman.

Qualcomm’s suits are based on three non-standard essential patents covering power management and a touch-screen technology called Force Touch, technology that Apple uses in current iPhones. The inventions “are a few examples of the many Qualcomm technologies that Apple uses to improve its devices and increase its profits,” Trimble said.

According to recent reports, Apple is moving away from TouchID technology. In fact, 9to5Mac recently shared that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes it’s possible that all 2018 iPhone models will move to FaceID and abandon TouchID technology, dependent on consumer reaction to the iPhone X. He also explained Apple is likely to go all-in on 3D sensing and that all new iPhone models will abandon fingerprint recognition entirely.

This suit is just the latest legal dispute between the two companies with the other suits centering on Qualcomm’s technology licensing business. While Qualcomm gets the majority of its sales from manufacturing phone chips, it receives most of its profit from charging fees for patents that cover the fundamentals of all modern phone systems.

Earlier this year, Apple filed an antitrust suit against Qualcomm arguing that the chipmaker’s licensing practices are unfair, and that it abused its position as the largest supplier of chips in phones. Soon after, Apple cut off licensing payments to Qualcomm — approximately $2 billion a year in revenue.

Qualcomm has countered with a patent suit, arguing Apple encouraged regulators from South Korea to the U.S. to take action against it based on false testimony. Earlier this week, Qualcomm was fined a record NT$23.4 billion ($773 million) by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission, which the company is appealing.

In addition, Qualcomm is asking U.S. authorities to ban the import of some versions of the iPhone, arguing they infringe on its patents.