Qualcomm filed the suits in a Beijing intellectual property court, claiming patent infringement and is seeking injunctive relief, a company spokeswoman confirmed on Friday, but did not provide further details.
The two firms are fighting on multiple fronts around the globe from the United States to Europe and Asia, but the China case is particularly thorny because the iPhone is nearly entirely made in the country by contract manufacturer Foxconn. Apple has blasted Qualcomm's practices as monopolistic, while Qualcomm has hit back at Apple for using patents without a license.
"China is still unpredictable and Apple has a ton to lose". In response, Apple stopped paying licensing revenues to Qualcomm. The latest lawsuit is the biggest move from the chipmaker in its ongoing legal tussle against Apple. Now it has set it sights on China.
How will the ban impact Apple?
A person familiar with Apple told Caixin that it will take about three years for the two to settle the cases. "That is very significant leverage Qualcomm would have over Apple". The court has not yet made them public.
Apple, which produces most of its iPhones in China, responded that the patents in question were never discussed by the companies and that the case was without merit. "Regulators around the world have found Qualcomm guilty of abusing their position for years".
Second, the hundreds of thousands of Chinese jobs dependant on iPhone production give Chinese authorities good reason to deny the request. This fight in court commenced in January when Apple recorded a lawsuit claiming that Qualcomm was holding installments for emancipating. It suggested the effort was opportunistic, because Qualcomm hadn't brought up the patents during negotiations and had only issued them recently.