The legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm is even hotter than you might have thought — so hot they were suing each other on the same day. While Apple was busy suing Qualcomm over Snapdragon chips on November 29th, Qualcomm was filing its own lawsuit claiming that phones ranging from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone X violate 16 patents, including power-saving methods, interfaces and even camera autofocus. There’s a matching complaint with the US International Trade Commission that would ban imports (and thus sales) of the iPhone X and other models over five of the patents.
As with Qualcomm’s previous ITC tussle, the new ITC case is conspicuously focused only on those iPhones that use Intel’s wireless chipsets.
Apple has declined to comment. With these back-to-back lawsuits, though, it’s clearer than ever that the companies are trying to force each other’s hand. Qualcomm in particular rejects Apple’s claim that its royalty demands are excessive, and it could use the threat of bans on cutting-edge iPhones as a strong bargaining chip. Even if the lawsuit and ITC complaint take a while (ITC cases are usually faster), there’s a good chance that bans on the iPhone 8 and X could do tangible damage to Apple’s bottom line and push it to the negotiating table. Not that Apple is likely to buckle — in addition to its own lawsuits, it has the support of the FTC’s investigation into Qualcomm’s alleged antitrust practices.
Source: RPX Insight
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Apple was hit with a lawsuit earlier this year that claims the company purposefully broke FaceTime on iOS 6 in order to push people to upgrade to iOS 7. And as of late last week, Apple failed to get the suit dismissed as District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that iPhone 4 and 4S users can pursue claims against Apple.
The whole situation is a result of Apple wanting to reduce the cost of using third-party servers to manage FaceTime calls. Doing so was costing the company millions of dollars per month in fees, so with iOS 7, Apple changed the way FaceTime functioned so that the third-party servers weren’t used as often. However, users of iPhone 4s and 4Ss were still using iOS 6 so, allegedly, Apple let a security certificate lapse in order to break FaceTime for iOS 6 and force customers to upgrade their operating systems.
In its attempt to get rid of the lawsuit, Apple claimed that users didn’t suffer economic loss because FaceTime is free. But in her decision, Koh said, “Plaintiffs paid for their iPhones, and FaceTime is a ‘feature’ of the iPhone and thus a component of the iPhone’s cost. Indeed, Apple advertised FaceTime as “one more thing that makes an iPhone an iPhone.”
Apple also tried to argue that iPhone users weren’t entitled to FaceTime service saying that the Plaintiffs “have no right to uninterrupted, continuous, or error-free” FaceTime. To which, Judge Koh responded, “Plaintiffs do not allege that FaceTime operation was interrupted, or that it contained errors. Rather Plaintiffs allege that Apple in effect made FaceTime unavailable to owners of iPhone 4 and 4S devices…The unavailability of FaceTime is different from ‘interruptions’ or ‘errors’ in FaceTime.”
The plaintiffs are seeking both loss and punitive damages in amounts that will be determined at trial.
Source: District Court Decision
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