Apple expands ongoing legal battle against Qualcomm with new lawsuit in the U.K.

Apple today further expanded its ongoing legal battle against Qualcomm. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has now sued Qualcomm in a U.K. court over the same patent and royalty dispute that prompted lawsuits in other countries, including the United States.

The report notes that the lawsuit was filed today and cites a claim on patents and registered designs. At this point, however, there aren’t any specific details as to how broad Apple’s lawsuit against Qualcomm is in the U.K.

Apple first sued Qualcomm for $1 billion in the United States last month. Apple’s suit against the company came following an FTC complaint alleging that Qualcomm engaged in monopolistic practices to prevent Apple from sourcing key components from competitors. When asked for comment, Apple cited the same statement it released at the beginning of the battle back in January:

“Qualcomm built its business on older, legacy, standards but reinforces its dominance through exclusionary tactics and excessive royalties,” Apple said in the January statement.

“Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined.”

The main point of Apple’s argument is that Qualcomm has been charging royalties for “technologies they have nothing to do with. Apple has also alleged that Qualcomm withheld a $1 billion rebate from Apple in retaliation for it working with South Korean authorities. Qualcomm was recently found to be engaging in anti-competitive behavior in South Korea. Tim Cook put it like this:

It’s somewhat like buying a sofa and you charge a different price depending upon the price of the house that it goes into. From our point of view, this doesn’t make sense, and we don’t believe it will pass muster in the courts.

Likewise, Apple is suing Qualcomm in China over the same patent and royalty disputes. That suit is worth 1 billion yuan, or around $140 million. As part of that claim, Apple claimed that Qualcomm is in violation of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law.

Tim Cook referred to Apple’s legal battle with Qualcomm during the company’s recent earnings call, explaining that he sees litigation as a last resort and is therefore open to settling the lawsuit. In the end, though, Cook expects it to be a lengthy battle.

I don’t like litigation, and so if there’s another way, then that would be great, but at this point I don’t see it. I fully expect at this point in time that it will take some time, but in the end, I think common sense will prevail, and the courts will see it for what it is. So that’s the way I see it.

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