INTERNATIONAL - Qualcomm Inc on Monday kicks off a patent challenge to Apple Inc, capping off a two-year legal strategy to put pressure on the iPhone maker before a major antitrust lawsuit between the two goes to trial in April.
Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of mobile chips, alleges in federal court in San Diego that Apple violated three of its patents, and is asking for tens of millions of dollars or more in damages.
The patent case is part of a two-year series of lawsuits around the world between the companies. Apple has alleged that Qualcomm engaged in illegal patent practices to protect a dominant position in the chip market, and Qualcomm has accused Apple of using its technology without compensation.
The legal saga will reach a crescendo in April, when an antitrust case filed by Apple in early 2017 heads to trial and challenges the foundation of Qualcomm’s business model.
Since then, Qualcomm has filed a series of patent actions timed to conclude before the antitrust trial and rack up smaller victories against Apple. So far, Qualcomm has won a preliminary finding of infringement by US trade regulators and partial iPhone sales bans in China and Germany, although the Chinese ban has not yet been enforced and Apple has resumed shipping phones in Germany after making changes.