(Yicai Global) Dec. 18 -- Qualcomm, the chipmaker that last week secured a Chinese court's ban on the sale of most iPhones, must deal with three important lawsuits in the US from next spring, according to a lawyer who is representing Apple contract manufacturers seeking USD9 billion in compensation from Qualcomm.
The US Federal Trade Commission has filed a suit against Qualcomm for its continuous monopolistic, unfair and anti-competitive behavior, Ted Boutrous, co-chair of the Los Angeles-based law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, told Yicai Global in an interview yesterday. A second case pits Apple and its suppliers against the chipmaker, while a third involves 250 million customers in what may be the largest class action lawsuit in history, he added.
Qualcomm gained traction in its lengthy legal battle against Apple on Nov. 30, when a court in China's Fujian province passed two temporary national bans that prevented the sale of iPhones that Qualcomm believes infringed on its patents. Handsets affected include the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X. Apple pushed a software update on these products in China yesterday. Qualcomm considers the fact that Apple hasn't recalled any of its handsets in China a breach of the court order, Reuters reported yesterday, citing Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel.
Qualcomm "illegally" exploits some early technological advantages regarding cellular technologies, preventing others from competing with it and hindering innovation, Boutrous said. The San Diego-based semiconductor and telecoms equipment maker took a series of actions recently out of desperation, as its business model isn't working anymore, he added.
Yicai Global did not receive an immediate reply for comment from Qualcomm.
Apple suppliers Wistron Group, Compal Electronics, Pegatron and Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, are preparing to take their case to trial in April. They are demanding USD9 billion in compensation for excessive royalties they paid to Qualcomm on behalf of Apple for patents related to iPhones released in China, but could get as much as three times that in US law, Boutros said.
The four Taiwan-based companies filed an antitrust lawsuit in July last year, claiming Qualcomm violated the Sherman Act, a federal US law designed to make free competition a basic rule of trade. They also stopped paying for Qualcomm's patents.
Editor: Emmi Laine