ITC launching investigation into Apple over Qualcomm's allegations of patent infringement

Marco Green
August 9, 2017

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it will investigate Apple Inc. products, including the iPhone 7 and some of its components, in a broadening probe initiated by chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.

It's important to note that this is really just the USA agency admitting that they're taking a look at Qualcomm's claims, with the USITC noting specifically that it "has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case".

The commission said in a press release that it has made a decision to look into Qualcomm's allegations that Apple has wrongly imported devices that infringe Qualcomm's own patents.

Qualcomm filed the complaint in early July, asking USA trade regulators to ban certain models of the iPhone that contain so-called broadband modem chips, which help phones connect to wireless data networks, that were not made by Qualcomm. Apple pointed to Chief Executive Tim Cook's earlier comments that Qualcomm had not yet offered it "fair and reasonable" licensing terms for Qualcomm's technology. Just as it announced last month, Qualcomm is asking the ITC to implement a "Limited Exclusion Order" that would block imports of iPhones and iPads that unlawfully use modems covered by one of the six patents.

Apple began using broadband modem chips made by Intel Corp in the iPhone 7. Qualcomm is seeking a ban on imports of the iPhone models that allegedly infringe on its IP.

"Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC's decision to investigate Apple's unfair trade practices and the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm's patents", Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel, said in a statement.

The USITC has identified Apple Inc. of Cupertino, CA, as the respondent in this investigation. Last month, multiple companies, including Microsoft and Google, denounced Qualcomm's request. The two companies have cases pending before separate federal courts in California, and Qualcomm also faces a complaint from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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