Qualcomm seeks ban on iPhone sales in the USA
The simmering intellectual property (IP) dispute between system-on-chip (SoC) leader Qualcomm and juggernaut Apple has been ongoing since at least January of 2017, when Apple sought US$1 billion in compensation as they alleged Qualcomm had been charging the company five times the standard rate for use of its standard patents. The back-and-forth patent dispute has escalated to a boil as Qualcomm has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban iPhones from being imported and sold in the US.
The pre-existing battle between Apple and Qualcomm has been about industry-standard patents, of which Qualcomm owns many. This new complaint from Qualcomm alleges that Apple is making use of non-industry standard patents without properly compensating them. The patents involved include the following:
- US Patent 8698558 (issued 2014) which extends battery life by offering intelligent antenna power management
- US Patent 8838949 (issued 2014) which helps a phone connect to the network at first boot US Patent 8633936 (issued 2014) which allows for graphics intensive applications to use less battery power
- US Patent 9535490 (issued 2017) which monitors and manages network traffic to and from applications
- US Patent 9608675 (issued 2017) which aggregates multiple streams into a single "data super-highway"
- US Patent 8487658 (issued 2013) which uses more efficient power interfacing for both high and low voltage circuits
These patents don't just affect the iPhone, but the iPad as well. It's unlikely that the ITC would grant the ban (similar attempts have been made in other major disputes in the past), but if they did, it's easy to see how devastating a blow it would be to Apple, for which the iPhone and iPad. The iPhone and iPad together make up more than 70 percent of Apple's sales revenue as of 2017.