Apple countersues Qualcomm, escalating massive patent war

Apple's suit is just the latest in a long-running patent feud with Qualcomm.

Apple claimed Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips violate several of the iPhone vendor’s patents, escalating a long-running, high-stakes war between the two tech giants.

Apple’s countersuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego, claims Qualcomm’s popular mobile chip violates at least eight patents held by Apple that are related to battery life, Reuters reported. The latest filing is a revision of an earlier response to a suit Qualcomm filed in July with the U.S. International Trade Commission accusing Apple of illegally importing and selling iPhones “that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents covering key technologies that enable important features and functions in iPhones.”

Neither company has posted public comment on Apple’s countersuit yet.

The patent battle began in earnest early this year when Apple filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm, contending the chipmaker insists on onerous royalties for its technologies and demanding payments for technologies it didn’t develop, such as Apple’s Touch ID. Apple claimed in that suit that it “has been overcharged billions of dollars on Qualcomm’s illegal scheme,” although the suit seeks damages of just less than $1 billion.

Qualcomm filed a countersuit in April, claiming among other things that the iPhone vendor “breached” and “mischaracterized” agreements with the chipmaker and interfered in deals with Qualcomm licensees.

Apple returned in June, saying in a legal filing that evidence increasingly indicated Qualcomm’s business model is “illegal.” That complaint alleged that Qualcomm’s strategy “burdens innovation," and that some patents for which Qualcomm is demanding royalties are invalid.

More recently, a report surfaced in late October claiming Apple was looking to eschew Qualcomm chips in iPhones and iPads as early as next year. Qualcomm responded to that salvo a few days later when it claimed the iPhone vendor failed to comply with terms of a software licensing contract and had shared proprietary code with rival Intel.