A couple months ago, chip-making firm Qualcomm sued Apple on the grounds of intellectual property theft. Qualcomm claimed Apple was using its patented chips without paying for it.
Shortly after, Apple countersued Qualcomm for $1 billion saying the company was claiming royalties on patents they had “nothing to do with.” In April, Apple announced that it would no longer be paying Qualcomm any royalties as it pursued legal action against them.
The dispute heated up in April, when Apple stopped making payments to its iPhone suppliers like Foxconn that were passed on to Qualcomm to cover the royalties due.
Finally in July, Qualcomm asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to bar the import of some iPhones and take up the investigation of this case so as to recover impending royalties.
Qualcomm’s profits had already witnessed a dip due to these lawsuits.
The U.S. Trade Commission is now investigating Qualcomm’s claims that Apple is violating several of its patents related to mobile technologies in several of its iPhone models.
The U.S. Trade Commission will make its decision “at the earliest practicable time” and will set a target date for completing its investigation within the next 45 days, the commission said in a statement.
“We look forward to the ITC’s expeditious investigation of Apple’s ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the commission can provide,” Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement.
Apple pointed to Chief Executive Tim Cook’s earlier comments that Qualcomm had not yet offered it “fair and reasonable” licensing terms for Qualcomm’s technology.
“I don’t believe anyone is going to decide to enjoin the iPhone based on that,” Cook told investors in May on the company’s earnings call, his most recent public comment on the topic. “I think that there’s plenty of case law around that subject, but we shall see.”
Analysts are watching the U.S. Trade Commission tackle this case closely because the trade regulators move faster than many courts and could deliver a decision ahead of the pending lawsuits.