Technology

Qualcomm Fires Fresh Legal Salvo, Seeks Ban On Apple’s iPhone X

The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple is getting more and more fierce each passing month. It began when Apple filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the chipmaker for allegedly charging exorbitant patent royalties. Things have worsened to such an extent that Apple is said to be planning to ditch Qualcomm modems from all its future products including the iPhones and iPads. In the latest turn of events, Qualcomm has filed a fresh lawsuit seeking a ban on the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and last year’s iPhone 7 series.

Qualcomm Seeks Ban On iPhone X
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

Apple calls Qualcomm a ‘common patent troll’

On Wednesday, Qualcomm filed a lawsuit with the US District Court in Southern California and the US International Trade Commission (ITC), claiming that Apple had infringed on 16 of its patents. The patents cover power efficiency in mobile chipsets, radio frequency transceivers, image enhancement using depth-mapping, user interface, and the device power management.

Of 16 patent, five are mentioned in the lawsuit filed at the ITC. The ITC has the power to ban the import of products that violate patents. Qualcomm has demanded a court trial and an injunction on the infringing devices including the iPhone X, iPhone 8 series, and the iPhone 7 series in the US. The chipmaker has also sought unspecified damages and fees.

Interestingly, Qualcomm has sought the “exclusion order” only against iPhones that use Intel’s modems, not the ones that run Qualcomm chips. Even though Intel modems are slightly inferior to their Qualcomm counterparts, Apple has been using Intel chips in some of its iPhones to diversify its supplier base. Apple said the chipmaker was using the lawsuit to “extend its monopoly” in the market by asking the International Trade Commission to exclude its “only remaining competitor.”

The Cupertino company added that Qualcomm was behaving like a “common patent troll,” reports the Financial Times. Qualcomm has also expanded the legal battle, seeking similar bans on the iPhone X and other iPhones in Germany and China as well. Apple has denied infringing on any of Qualcomm’s patents, saying such patents were invalid.

Apple targets Snapdragon 800, 820 in new lawsuit

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has asked the company’s suppliers not to pay Qualcomm any royalties until the two resolve their legal disputes. Qualcomm’s fresh lawsuits came just hours after the iPhone maker filed yet another suit against the chipmaker. In the latest suit, Apple has accused Qualcomm of violating its patent around the smartphone power management.

In its latest suit filed with the US District Court in San Diego, Apple claimed Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 and Snapdragon 820 processors had infringed on at least eight Apple patents. The Snapdragon 800 and 820 were used in some of the most popular Android smartphones in 2015 and 2016. The Cupertino company said its patents in question ensure that the processor uses only minimal power and turns off the parts that are not needed to save battery.

The iPhone maker added that it began seeking those patents years before Qualcomm started seeking the “patents it asserts against Apple in this case.” The iPhone X is Apple’s most expensive smartphone ever, and is the most sought-faster product this holiday shopping season. It offers exciting new features such as an all-screen OLED display, Face ID technology, wireless charging, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji.

Apple sold 6 million iPhone X handsets during Black Friday weekend

According to Rosenblatt Securities analysts, the iPhone X sold in record numbers during the Black Friday shopping weekend. Over the four-day shopping period, buyers purchased about 6 million iPhone X units. The total number of iPhones sold during the given period was much higher considering Rosenblatt’s numbers don’t include the iPhone 8 series and the iPhone 7 series.

The research firm estimates that Apple has sold more than 15 million iPhone X devices since the November 3 launch. That’s a huge number considering the device has been around for only about three weeks, was facing supply issues, and is the most expensive iPhone ever. Apple has since ramped up production to improve the availability. It means you will easily be able to get your hands on the iPhone X during the holiday shopping season.

Retailers and wireless carriers were splashing lucrative Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts on the iPhone 8 series and the iPhone 7 series. Rosenblatt Securities said most customers purchased the high-end 256GB model of the iPhone X that costs $1,149. It will boost Apple’s average selling price. The research first estimates that the 256GB version was twice as popular as the 64GB model.

Meanwhile, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told investors that Apple and its suppliers had resolved all the production bottlenecks that affected the iPhone X production rate. Foxconn is now assembling 450,000 to 550,000 iPhone X units per day. That’s much higher than the 50,000 to 150,000 units per day only a few weeks ago. Kuo expects the supply to improve further in the coming weeks.