iPhone X faces ban as Apple-Qualcomm legal spat escalates – CNET


The iPhone X is the latest device to get ensnared in the Apple-Qualcomm battle. 

James Martin/CNET

Qualcomm has Apple’s iPhone X in its crosshairs. 

The San Diego chip giant on Wednesday filed three new complaints against Apple in US District Court, asserting a violation of 16 additional patents ranging from how the iPhone handles different bands of spectrum to how it manages battery life. 

Most interestingly, some of these patents, scooped up by Qualcomm in 2014, relate to the old Palm Pre. Qualcomm alleges that the new iPhone X, which offers users the ability to bring up different windows of apps with a swipe, copies the interface used by the Pre. Another Palm patent involves the ability to autofocus the camera by touching the screen. 

Five of the 16 patents were included in a new filing with an existing complaint at the US International Trade Commission. A decision by the ITC could potentially ban iPhones using Intel chips from being imported into the US. 

The complaints mark the latest escalation of the bitter fight between the two tech giants. Apple is one of the largest consumer technology companies in the world, with arguably the strongest brand in the industry, while Qualcomm is the world’s largest supplier of mobile chips. 

At the heart of this fight is a disagreement over how much Apple should pay Qualcomm for technology licenses. Apple believes the fee should be based on a percentage of the Qualcomm modem that goes into the iPhone, while the chipmaker believes the percentage should be based on the value of the entire phone. 

The complaint helps support Qualcomm’s argument that Apple uses more of its technology than just the modem and that other aspects of the iPhone are helped by Qualcomm innovations. 

Qualcomm declined to comment beyond the filings. 

Apple has filed a countersuit against Qualcomm, alleging that the chipmaker illegally used Apple battery management technology in Snapdragon processors that went into rival phones. 

An Apple spokesman declined to comment beyond the complaint.

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