Apple’s ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm just got even more interesting after the iPhone-maker branded its partner’s license agreements invalid.
Cupertino is fighting to prevent Qualcomm from taking a cut of every iPhone sold, and to prevent the chipmaker’s alleged double-dipping to maximize revenue it earns from its modem chips.
The battle kicked off back in January, when Apple sued Qualcomm for allegedly withholding $1 billion in rebates because Apple assisted South Korean regulators investigating Qualcomm’s business. Since then, the lawsuit has expanded significantly.
Qualcomm fought back, claiming Apple was misleading and breached its contract with the company. Qualcomm also pulled other Apple partners into the fight, including iPhone and iPad assembler Foxconn, and tried to get the iPhone banned in the United States.
Now Apple has broadened its own attack. It told a U.S. court that Qualcomm’s licensing agreement, which allows it to claim a cut of every iPhone sold, is invalid. If Apple is successful, it could put a stop to Qualcomm’s longstanding business model.
Using a recent lawsuit against Lexmark as precedent, Apple argues that Qualcomm should not be allowed to charge customers for both patent licensing and for modem chips themselves. It says the company should be entitled to “one reward,” not both.
Apple wants to be able to buy chips just as a consumer would buy any product, without handing over a percentage of the iPhone’s selling price on top. It also wants the court to dismiss Qualcomm’s attack on other Apple partners, and keep the fight between the two of them.