Apple is being sued for stealing modem tech for new iPhones



The lawsuit filed by Qualcomm accuses Apple of taking confidential modem secrets and slipping them to Intel to help the company improve the modems it was making for the new XS, XS Max and XR iPhones.

Qualcomm claims that Apple has been stealing its wireless tech for years and now alleges that the trillion-dollar company gave its code to Intel to increase modem speeds. Donald Rosenberg, General Counsel of Qualcomm, said: “The unlawful disclosure of Qualcomm’s valuable trade secrets is an attempt to help a competitor catch up. This is irreparable and must not be allowed to continue.”

The complaint that was filed states:

“Apple developed and carried out an intricate plan, beginning at least several years ago and continuing through the present, to steal vast swaths of Qualcomm’s confidential information and trade secrets and to use the information and technology to improve the performance of non-Qualcomm chipset solutions.”

Qualcomm x50 5g modem
Qualcomm is king of the smartphone modem game, nobody disputes that. / © Qualcomm

This latest claim is just an addition to the already complicated battle between Qualcomm and Apple. The chip manufacturer filed a lawsuit last November for breaching an agreement that required Apple to allow Qualcomm to check that it’s source code and tools were protected. This new accusation was added to the case after Qualcomm said it had discovered the wrongdoing after going through emails between Apple and Intel engineers that surfaced during the case.

A CNBC report suggested that Qualcomm is trying to put pressure on Apple to settle. Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said on Bloomberg TV on Monday: “The environment is such that a deal could get done.”

Apple is also suing Qualcomm for $1 billion, claiming that it has been dramatically overcharging for patent use. Qualcomm was also sued by the US Federal Trade Commission for anti-competitive practices in the same month. In December 2016 Qualcomm was fined $853 million by the South Korean Antitrust Agency for monopolistic practices.

Apple has previously stated that: “Qualcomm’s illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry. They supply us with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products – effectively taxing Apple’s innovation.”

It would certainly be to Apple’s advantage if Intel could catch up to Qualcomm in terms of smartphone modems, and it would not surprise anyone if it was proved that the iPhone manufacturer had actively worked towards making that happen. For now, the whole tit for tat battle rages on.

What do you think of the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm? We will see the companies settle soon? Let us know in the comments.

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