Apple and Qualcomm announced Tuesday that they settled their years-long legal battle over the use of the latter company’s fifth-generation mobile chips in Apple iPhones, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
They agreed to dismiss all litigation stemming from the disagreement, with both companies hammering out a six-year licensing agreement and a multiyear supply agreement. Apple and Qualcomm’s legal troubles began in January 2017, when the iPhone maker accused the 5G chip maker of leveraging its stranglehold on the market to overcharge for its patent licenses.
Qualcomm counter sued, then Apple returned the favor. They sued each other more than 80 times throughout the past two years in parts of Asia, the United States and Europe.
Apple licensed Qualcomm’s technology for the iPhone early on, helping the phone maker break into the wireless industry. The decision allowed Apple to concentrate on making touchscreen computers and helped turn marketing genius Steve Jobs’ project into the most valuable company on Earth. Apple will pay Qualcomm an unspecified amount, according to the companies’ statement.
Legal troubles began when Apple started complaining that some of the technology in the patent bundle also is in its chips. In short, Qualcomm is getting paid twice for the same technology. The Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm in January 2017 as well, and over the same complicated reason.
Representatives with the Department of Defense, meanwhile, had sit-down discussions with the FTC to encourage the agency to stop suing Qualcomm. They argue financial losses from a court defeat would hamper Qualcomm’s ability to compete with China’s top chip maker, Huawei.
The Trump administration is targeting Huawei in a seemingly unrelated matter. The DOD charged the Chinese telecommunications giant in January on several counts of fraud as President Donald Trump applies more pressure on China’s beleaguered economy. Officials accused executive Meng Wanzhou of bank fraud, wire fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Meng, the CFO of Huawei and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested in December 2018 in Vancouver by the Canadian Justice Department. China warned Canada in December that it faces “severe consequences” if officials don’t release the executive.
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