Apple claims recent Supreme Court ruling makes Qualcomm iPhone IP agreement invalid

Apple has escalated its legal attack on Qualcomm, declaring the iPhone broadband chip license agreement is invalid, and the manufacturer is illegally double-dipping in its demand for a royalty payment for chip technology in conjunction with charging for the chips.

First reported by Reuters, Apple is utilizing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that put tighter restrictions on manufacturers to control how products are used or resold. Apple argues that Qualcomm is entitled to only “one reward” rather than reaping profit on the sale of the broadband, and take a percentage of the iPhone selling price from the intellectual property license.

The formal buyers of the broadband chips are Apple’s manufacturers —which then pass the costs on to Apple. As part of the filing, Apple has asked the court to stop Qualcomm’s lawsuits against Foxconn, and three other manufacturers.

The lawsuit that started the battle was filed in January, with Apple accusing Qualcomm of unfair licensing terms. Apple claims that Qualcomm withheld nearly $1 billion in rebates in retaliation for participating in a South Korean antitrust investigation.

Apple alleges Qualcomm abuses its “monopoly power” of the mobile wireless chip market to skirt fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) patent commitments to charge customers exorbitant royalty rates. Qualcomm also restricts sales of chips to buyers who have agreed to license its SEPs, a practice Apple refers to as “double-dipping” —the point hammered home in the court filing on Monday.

Those accusations mirror certain claims addressed in a U.S. Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit also lodged in January.

More recently, In April, Qualcomm revealed contract manufacturers using Qualcomm technologies to Apple product components were withholding royalty payments at Apple’s behest.

Qualcomm denies all of Apple’s assertions and claims that Apple is interfering with its contract manufacturers. Qualcomm initially outlined its case in a countersuit also in April.

In its myriad counter-complaints, Qualcomm has declared that Apple is in breach of contract. Qualcomm asserts that Apple has not suffered tangible injury, antitrust or otherwise, from Qualcomm’s business practices.