Qualcomm seeks to ban iPhone imports into U.S.

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Product Red iPhone box
iPhone sales will take a serious hit if Qualcomm wins.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The royalty battle between Qualcomm and Apple just took a nasty turn, according to a new report that claims the chipmaker is aiming to deal a major blow to Cupertino’s iPhone business.

Qualcomm plans to seek a ban on all imports of the iPhone into the United States, reports Bloomberg, quoting an anonymous source.

The two companies are currently locked in a disagreement over how much Apple should pay in royalties for using Qualcomm’s patented technology.

Qualcomm’s fight for royalties

During yesterday’s Q2 2017 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said his company stopped paying Qualcomm altogether because the two sides cannot agree on what the fee should be.

“Qualcomm is trying to charge Apple a percentage of the total iPhone value,” said Cook during the call with investors. “They do some really great work … but it’s one small part of what an iPhone is.”

Instead of appealing to federal courts, Qualcomm will reportedly ask the International Trade Commission to ban iPhone imports from Asia, where the smartphones are manufactured.

The agency operates an office in Washington, D.C., with the power to ban imported products from entering the United States. The ITC usually resolves cases faster than a court would.

Cook told investors that Qualcomm isn’t following FRAND guidelines for “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms” for licensing its technology, so Apple is “taking a principled stand.”

Hopefully the stand doesn’t hurt Apple’s wallet too badly.