The ongoing stand-off between Apple and Qualcomm has got more heated with Apple's manufacturing partners joining the company against Qualcomm.
Hon Hai/Foxconn, Compal, Wistron and Pegatron — all manufacturing partners of Apple in Asia —have filed a counter suit claiming that Qualcomm violated two sections of the Sherman Antitrust laws that exist to maintain fair competition within the US to benefit consumers.
"Qualcomm has confirmed publicly that this lawsuit against our clients is intended to make a point about Apple and punish our clients for working with Apple," Theodore J Boutrous, a lawyer representing the four companies, said in a statement.
The counter suit is seen as a response to the suit that Qualcomm filed in May this year seeking licensing fees that these manufacturing partners had reportedly stopped paying at the Cupertino-based tech giant's instruction.
Apple's manufacturing partners have called Qualcomm's lawsuit, "yet another chapter of Qualcomm's anticompetitive scheme to dominate modem chip markets, extract supracompetitive royalties, and break its commitments to license its cellular technology on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms," a Bloomberg report noted.
The initial lawsuit filed by Apple in January this year was under claims that Qualcomm was demanding more than the usual amount in payments. If the case goes in Apple's favour, Qualcomm could end up paying billions in refunds and damages.
The dispute escalated and Qualcomm filed a lawsuit on 6 July alleging that Apple was infringing six of its patents. The case was filed with the US International Trade Commission and the US district court for the southern district of California.
Qualcomm also filed two cases in Mannheim and Munich in Germany on 19 July seeking to ban the import of iPhones into the US.
While Apple does not have any direct contracts with Qualcomm, its manufacturing partners do, and the fees that they owe to Qualcomm is paid by Apple, Bloomberg reported.
"We have a contract with each of these manufacturers and they have all been paying us consistently for 10 years," Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel, said. "At the end of the day, it all boils down to this company, Apple, not wanting to pay for the valuable intellectual property that we provide to them and the rest of the industry."