The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple is heating up, as the former company is reportedly seeking to ban US imports of Apple iPhones, according to a source quoted by Bloomberg. If successful, Apple’s financial wellbeing could be in serious trouble.
Qualcomm has reportedly asked the US Trade Commission to implement a trade ban on imports of Apple iPhones into the US. iPhones that are currently built in Asia would be stopped from entering the country. In addition, the move would jeopardize the launch of Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 8 this fall, a device that introduces a slew of new features and a fresh design.
Qualcomm and Apple have been in a legal dispute since the beginning of the year, when the FTC revealed that the former company had conducted anticompetitive patent licensing practices. After the FTC announcement, Apple sued Qualcomm and refused to pay quarterly rebates.
Apple accused Qualcomm of charging unfair royalties for hardware that the chipmaker didn't previously patent. Qualcomm’s response came a few months later, in April, when the company countersued the iPhone maker for breaching licensing agreements, encouraging regulatory complaints against Qualcomm in multiple countries and making false claims.
Qualcomm stated that its technology was at the core of Apple’s iPhones. As a result of these back and forth legal disputes, Apple stopped paying royalties to Qualcomm in late April, waiting for a court to decide the full amount to be paid.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook reiterated this recently, saying that Qualcomm’s refusal to license patents under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND) leaves Apple with only one option, to wait for courts to decide the amount that must be paid.
If the United States International Trade Commission decides to ban iPhones from being imported in the country, the launch of the iPhone 8 could be severely affected. The iPhone 8 is one of the most important Apple smartphone launches in the past few years, considering that the new device will employ an OLED display, wireless charging, clean new design, and lots of other features.