Qualcomm: Apple ‘Should Be Embarrassed’ By Its Patent Approach

Qualcomm, the company that manufactures Apple’s baseband chips for iOS devices, has slammed the Cupertino company in an official ITC filing over its response to questions regarding the availability of injunctive relief over SEPs and criteria for FRAND royalty rates.

Qualcomm says Apple’s thoughts on the subject are a “sham,” that the company “should be ashamed of itself.”

FOSS Patents reports that Apple simply answered a couple of ITC questions that the Commission encouraged all stakeholders to respond to. It seems that Qualcomm didn’t like the Cupertino company’s response, so as well as its own response to the questions, it submitted to the ITC a reply to Apple’s answers, and a direct attack on the Cupertino company.

The reply read:

“Of course, Apple’s premise of ‘a willing licensee with a good-faith disagreement who wants nothing other than for a disinterested party to determine what terms are FRAND’ is itself a sham and a pretext. At the recent proceedings before Judge Crabb in the Western District of Wisconsin, Apple’s ‘willing licensee’ mask fell off, when it absolutely refused–even at the cost of having its case dismissed–to commit to take a license to Motorola’s SEP portfolio on whatever terms the court might determine to be FRAND. Having literally walked away, minutes before trial, from an opportunity for an adjudication as to whether Motorola had offered FRAND terms to Apple, Apple should be embarrassed–but apparently is not–to demand that the Commission divest itself of jurisdiction unless and until a ‘U.S. Court has determined [the relevant license terms] to be FRAND’.

If Apple is not a willing licensee, and in any event there is no risk of an exclusion order 8or injunction) shutting down a truly willing licensee, what is the real agenda? It is to shelter theunwilling licensee–the infringer that, like Apple, has no interest at all in paying market-validated royalty rates. It is to ensure that SEP infringers can only be called to account under rules, and in fora, in which they may gain yardage, but can never lose. [...]“

Qualcomm’s main problem here is seems to be that it has come to the conclusion Apple “has no interest in paying market-validated royalties.”

It would appear that the company is worried or nervous about the development of U.S. case law with respect to FRAND, which could see license negotiations limited to a certain amount. So worried, in fact, that it would sooner lose Apple as a customer than see the current FRAND setup changed.

Interestingly, Apple also responded to other stakeholder comments when it submitted its own response to the ITC. However, FOSS Patents reports that simply explains what the company does and does not agree with. It doesn’t attack others, or say they “should be embarrassed” by their views.