Qualcomm petitioning ITC to ban import of iPhones into the U.S.


In the latest salvo of the fight with Apple over royalty payments, Qualcomm is now seeking a total ban on all U.S. iPhone imports, Bloomberg reports. According to a “person familiar with the company’s strategy,” Qualcomm is planning to petition the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to block all shipments of the iPhone, which is built in China, from entering the country. The ITC is a U.S. Federal Agency in Washington that has the authority to block imports of goods into the U.S. and can act more quickly than the federal district courts in which the two companies are currently battling it out. The legal dispute between the two companies began earlier this year when Apple accused Qualcomm of withholding $1 billion in royalty payments and accused the company of abusing its position in the chip industry and not delivering on its promises to inexpensively license “standard essential patents.” Qualcomm fired back in April with a lawsuit in which it accused Apple of breaching its contract, which led to Apple deciding last week that it would withhold further royalty payments until the matter is settled.
Perhaps ironically, during Apple’s quarterly earnings call earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook was also asked to comment on Apple’s latest position in the Qualcomm dispute, and specifically whether Apple was concerned about the risk of Qualcomm taking action such as “getting an injunction on iPhones in select geographies around the world.” Cook responded with a cautious optimism about Apple’s position on the matter, saying, “I don’t believe that anyone is going to decide to enjoin the iPhone based on that. I think that there’s plenty of case law around that subject, but we shall see.” Cook went on to explain why Apple is pursing this and why it feels the need to take this stand with Qualcomm, nothing that “The reason that we’re pursuing this is that Qualcomm is trying to charge Apple a percentage of the total iPhone value, [but] it’s one small part of what an iPhone is,” and, “we don’t think that’s right, and we’re taking a principled stand on it, and we strongly believe we’re in the right. I’m sure they strongly believe that they are, and that’s what courts are for, and we’ll let it go at that.”

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.