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Intel Takes the Gloves Off as Three-Way Legal Row Escalates

“Qualcomm has had a lot to say publicly about its litigation campaign – and about Intel"

By CBR Staff Writer

Intel has reacted furiously after being drawn into a bitter courtroom battle between Apple and Qualcomm, saying that while it respects “truth, candor and fair competition”, Qualcomm has repeatedly been found to be in breach of competition law.

The comment from Intel’s general counsel Steve Rodgers came after Qualcomm explicitly named Intel as a beneficiary of what it alleges to be a “years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge” by Apple.

intel qualcommIn an amendment by Qualcomm to court filings last Tuesday Qualcomm alleged: “Apple has engaged in a years-long campaign of false promises, stealth and subterfuge designed to steal Qualcomm’s confidential information and trade secrets for the purpose of improving the performance and accelerating time to market of lower quality modem chip sets, including those developed by Intel Corp.”

With regard to the “lower quality” claim, Intel’s General Counsel Steve Rodgers responded: “The proof is in the pudding: Last year, the US Patent Office awarded more patents to Intel than to Qualcomm.”

Apple has not responded to a request for comment from Computer Business Review but is contesting the allegations in court.

Intel Qualcomm Row: “See You in Court”

In a blog post shared on Friday, Intel’s General Counsel Steve Rodgers wrote: “Qualcomm has had a lot to say publicly about its litigation campaign – and about Intel.”

He wrote: “It has publicly disparaged Intel’s products – products created by the innovation and hard work of dedicated teams of scientists and engineers at Intel…[but] the proof is in the pudding: Last year, the U.S. Patent Office awarded more patents to Intel than to Qualcomm.”

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Pointing to a string of regulatory actions against Qualcomm, including the European Commission’s €997 million fine for Qualcomm’s abuse of its market dominance in LTE baseband chipsets, he added: “For the most part, we have chosen, and will continue to choose, to respond to Qualcomm’s statements in court, not in public.”

He concluded: “We look forward to continuing to compete with Qualcomm.”

(Qualcomm is contesting the European Commission’s decision, saying it “strongly disagrees” with the decision, which it claims was was marked by numerous procedural and legal errors.)

Qualcomm Apple Row

The issues between Apple and Qualcomm originated from a 2011 to 2016 deal which saw Qualcomm provide its chips to Apple for use in its iPhones. (Intel provides chips for Apple’s Macbooks).

intel qualcommIn January 2017 Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion in a lawsuit in which Apple claimed the latter was “charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with.”

Apple claimed in the initial case that: “Qualcomm built its business on older, legacy, standards but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties. Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined.”

Qualcomm responded at the time: “Apple has intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program. Apple has been actively encouraging regulatory attacks on Qualcomm’s business in various jurisdictions around the world.”

On April 10 last year, Don Rosenberg executive VP and general counsel of Qualcomm  added: “Apple could not have built the incredible iPhone franchise that has made it the most profitable company in the world, capturing over 90 percent of smartphone profits, without relying upon Qualcomm’s fundamental cellular technologies.”

He continued to claim that: “It has launched a global attack on Qualcomm and is attempting to use its enormous market power to coerce unfair and unreasonable license terms from Qualcomm.”


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