The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it will be investigating Apple following allegations from Qualcomm that the Cupertino-based company infringed on Qualcomm's patents with the iPhone 7. Some models of iPhone 7 use an Intel modem rather than a Qualcomm one, and while Qualcomm does not claim that the modem itself violates any patents, Apple's implementation of that modem reportedly does.
Earlier this summer, Qualcomm filed the claim in early July and is seeking to keep the infringing products from being imported into the U.S. Going back further, Intel and Samsung filed a statement in support of the ITC's investigation into Qualcomm's licensing agreements, specifically whether those agreement violate Qualcomm's Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) commitments. On the other side, a group of companies, including Alphabet (Google's parent), Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, support Apple in this case, saying that pursuing this reported patent violation will ultimately harm consumers and the market in general.
Qualcomm released the following statement:
SAN DIEGO — August 8, 2017 — Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) today announced that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has commenced an investigation into Apple Inc.
The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Qualcomm on July 7, 2017. The investigation will examine whether Apple has engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling certain mobile electronic devices, including iPhones and iPads that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents. Qualcomm is requesting that the ITC issue a Limited Exclusion Order to bar importation, and a Cease and Desist Order to bar further sales and marketing in the United States, of iPhones and iPads that use cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm's affiliates.
"Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC's decision to investigate Apple's unfair trade practices and the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm's patents," said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm. "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."
The ITC plans to complete this investigation in the next 45 days.