Qualcomm fires back in Apple dispute over “false allegations”

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Qualcomm has returned fire on Apple supporters including Facebook and Google, accusing them of attempting to misdirect regulators, as the patent dispute between the chipset maker and iPhone manufacturer rumbles on.

The chipmaker made a regulatory filing to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) defending its legal efforts to ban iPhones from the US, claiming it was entitled to “protect its intellectual rights against Apple’s infringement”.

The company was taking aim at recent submissions by groups including Apple and third parties such as the US-based Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which includes BT, Facebook, Google and Samsung.

Last week, the CCIA issued a statement arguing that Qualcomm's attempts to ban the sale of iPhones using a non-Qualcomm baseband unit would damage competition in the United States.

Qualcomm dismissed the competition concerns, saying the ITC was required to determine only whether Apple had infringed on legislation protecting intellectual property rights when the iPhone maker began to prevent its contract manufacturers from paying royalty fees to Qualcomm.

The chipset maunfacturer attacked its opponents for blurring the lines between this case and other pending litigation against Qualcomm, which it said were not relevant. For example, Intel’s complaint against Qualcomm cited an ongoing case in district court brought by the US Federal Trade Commission against the Snapdragon manufacturer for anti-competitive conduct.

It said submissions had misrepresented Qualcomm’s complaint and falsely claimed that excluding Apple products from the US would leave Qualcomm with a monopoly on LTE basebands in the country.

It also said the submissions had failed to articulate any legitimate public interest concerns that would result from banning the sale of iPhones, since there were plenty of other competing mobile devices in the market.

Qualcomm said the submissions “rely on false and/or irrelevant allegations, while mischaracterising the nature and scope of the instant action”.

The row between the companies kicked off in January, when Apple accused Qualcomm of withholding around $1 billion in payments.

Qualcomm then sought damages from Apple for "underplaying" the performance of its chips.