Displaying items by tag: lawsuit

Apple and US chipmaker Qualcomm will resume their long-running feud as a new court case between the two titans of American enterprise begins in San Diego next week.

The two companies have been embroiled in a bitter row over patent licensing practices for the best part of two years. Last month, a Californian jury ruled in favour of Qualcomm and awarded the company $31m after it found that Apple’s iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus and X infringed two patents.

Apple has expressed its confidence that this new lawsuit in San Diego will rule in their favour as they seek damages of up to $27bn after accusing its one-time supplier of engaging in patent license practices that amounted to double-dipping.

Qualcomm on the other hand are claiming that the US technology behemoth forced some of it business partners to stop paying the company royalties and is seeking $15bn in damages.

The initial lawsuit was filed by Apple back in 2017, which forced the US chipmaker to counter-sue the iPhone maker and winning bans on the sale of some iPhone models in some markets for patent violations.

Qualcomm charges its customers for the chips themselves and also adds on patent licensing charges. It asks customers to sign an agreement before supplying any products.

Apple has termed this "no licence, no chips" policy a way of charging twice for the same thing. Along with its business partners, Apple is seeking an end to this practice and a refund of something in the region of US$9 billion.

This amount could be tripled if the jury comes to the conclusion that Apple's anti-trust allegations against Qualcomm are correct. Apple claims Qualcomm's practices kept rivals like Intel - from whom Apple is now sourcing chips - from competing in this sector for a long time.

Companies that are on contract with Apple, such as Foxconn, have paid the royalties to Qualcomm and been reimbursed by Apple. But Apple has pushed some of these firms to violate their contracts and deprive Qualcomm of about US$7 billion in royalties, the chip producer claims.

A victory for Apple will not mean much in terms of money but it would destroy a business model that Qualcomm has used with great success for many years.

Published in Finance

Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei is preparing to take the US government to court in an effort to the challenge the decision taken by the US congress which prohibits federal agencies from using its equipment.

The New York Times is reporting that the embattled Chinese vendor is now preparing to file a lawsuit against that legislation which was passed through the US House of Representatives.

Sources close to Huawei have leaked that the telecommunications company plans to argue the measure amounts to a so-called bill of attainder, which penalizes the vendor for a penalty without the benefit of a trial, which is illegal under the US Constitution.

The US has adopted a very aggressive approach towards Huawei and ZTE, and the latter was almost pushed the point of bankruptcy following draconian measures implemented by the US Department of Commerce.

In August of last year, President Donald Trump signed into law a defence spending bill which included a clause banning government agencies and contractors from using equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese vendor ZTE.

At the time, Huawei labelled the bill ‘misguided and unconstitutional’ – and blasted the decision taken by the Trump administration.

The lawsuit by Huawei is expected to be filed on 7 March in a federal court in Texas, where Huawei has its US headquarters.

The move comes as Huawei battles assertions from the US that it poses a security threat to telecommunications networks. The US has lobbied other nations in banning Huawei from their 5G networks, such as Australia and New Zealand, and is also attempting to pressure European countries such as the UK and France.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said countries that use Huawei equipment risk losing the US as a business and trade partner over the alleged security threat.

However, during his keynote address on stage at MWC19 Barcelona last week, Huawei rotating chairman Guo Ping blasted the US campaign against the company saying officials have “no evidence, nothing” to back up their claims.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Apple executive blasts Qualcomm during antitrust lawsuit trial

Written on Thursday, 17 January 2019 10:28

A prominent Apple executive has testified that Qualcomm refused to let the US technology behemoth use its chip technology in their latest line of iPhones due to an ongoing dispute between the two companies over licensing fees.

The admission was made by Apple COO Jeff Williams, during court proceedings in relation to an antitrust lawsuit filed by the US Federal Trade Commission.

Williams told the court that the global smartphone manufacturer expressed a desire to use both Qualcomm and Intel chips in its 2018 iPhones, but stated that Qualcomm withdrew support for Apple by refusing to sell them chips.

In addition to this, he disclosed that Apple has not been able to reach an agreement with the US chipmaker in relation to a new design since it filed a lawsuit in January 2017, which accused Qualcomm of using anticompetitive licensing tactics.

Williams also detailed the company’s fee negotiations with Qualcomm, noting Apple repeatedly traded exclusivity for a lower chip cost in order to keep the latter’s technology in its devices. Williams said, “We needed their chip supply, and we didn’t have a lot of options.”

Qualcomm has yet to mount its full defence in the litigation proceedings. However, it must be said that the claims made by Williams come in stark contrast to testimony provided by Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf last week.

Reuters published a report which claimed that the Qualcomm CEO declared that the chipmaker had sought an exclusivity arrangement not to shut out the competition, but instead to ensure it would recoup a $1 billion “incentive payment” made to Apple in 2011 in an effort to help cover technical transition costs incurred in switching chip suppliers from Infineon.

Williams’ statements were also contradicted by comments made by Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon during an earnings call in July 2018 noting the company would gladly be an Apple supplier again if the opportunity presents itself.

Mollenkopf also stressed that there was no reason the pair could not work together again noting that it makes sense that the technology leader in mobile should partner with the product leader.

Published in Devices

European court places ban on older iPhones

Written on Sunday, 06 January 2019 11:40

Chipmaker Qualcomm has won a patent dispute against phone giant Apple.

Following a ruling in the District Court of Munich, Apple will no longer sell iPhone 7 and 8 across German stores and websites.

The court ruled that Apple phones were infringing on Qualcomm’s intellectual property related to power saving technology in two of its older smartphones.

Qualcomm was required to post a $1.34 billion security bond with German courts before it would take effect.

Apple’s German website no longer features the iPhone 7 and 8, listing only the newer models such as the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max.  

The court has also ordered Apple to recall infringing iPhones from third party resellers.

Contrary to the ban, Apple assured that “all iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany,” and has plans to appeal the ruling.

The injunction is the latest development amidst an ongoing feud between Apple and Qualcomm. The California-based phone maker sued Qualcomm in the United States and in China, accusing the company of extortion and anticompetitive conduct in its negotiations over patent licensing.

In December, Qualcomm won a Chinese lawsuit that forced Apple to recall its products due to a copyright infringement. The court ruled that Apple had violated two of Qualcomm’s software patents specifically related to resizing pictures and managing applications.

To lift the ban, Apple released a small update to its iOS version 12.1.2, which contains software changes exclusive to China.

Following the hearing, Apple described the ban as “another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world.”

Published in Devices

Facebook faces lawsuit over data leak scandal

Written on Thursday, 20 December 2018 10:15

A DC attorney general has announced that he will file a lawsuit against Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Attorney General Karl Racine said the social media giant had “failed to protect the privacy of its users and deceived them,” after the data of tens of millions of its users were leaked to third-parties.

The suit alleges the company violated the Consumer Protection Procedures Act through its lax privacy standards, and that it misrepresented third-party developers’ ability to obtain data. The office intends to seek civil penalties if proven in court.

After the scandal emerged in March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress and answered questions from the Senate commerce and judiciary committees on privacy, data mining, regulations and Cambridge Analytica. The political consultancy had gathered names, “likes” and other data from more than 87 million Facebook users without their permission or knowledge.

Facebook was fined £500,000 by the UK's data protection watchdog for its role in the scandal.

“Facebook failed to protect the privacy of its users and deceived them” about who had access to their data and how it was used,” Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement. “Facebook put users at risk of manipulation by allowing companies like Cambridge Analytica and other third-party applications to collect personal data without users’ permission. Today’s lawsuit is about making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users’ privacy.”

The lawsuit is the latest blow for the social media giant in recent weeks. A report in the New York Times revealed that Facebook had allowed ‘partner’ companies such as Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada the ability to read, write and delete users’ private messages.

On the stock exchange, Facebook had fallen by 7.3%, with Loup Venture founder Gene Munster advising against the buying of its stocks, quoting that the social media behemoth’s ‘best days are behind it’.

Published in Apps

US chipmaker Qualcomm has reignited its ongoing dispute with Apple following its decision to call on the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the sale of certain iPhones. Qualcomm is calling for the prohibition of sales on the devices because it alleges that Apple has infringed up to six of its patents.

Qualcomm issued a direct and blunt statement in which it claims Apple had ‘engaged in the unlawful importation and sales’ of some iPhones – and confirmed that it is currently in the process of filing an official complaint with the ITC. Qualcomm which unveiled its Snapdragon 835 processor at CES 2017 in January, has argued that the patents in question involve ‘key technologies’ that enable important features and functions in iPhones, which includes the capacity to prolong battery life and overall efficiency of the devices.

Qualcomm has urged ITC to begin an investigation into Apple’s conduct, infringing imports and that they issue a Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) to bar importation of the devices into the US. It stressed that the ITC must stop Apple’s unlawful and unfair use of Qualcomm’s technology. This row is the latest in a long-running feud between the two technology titans, and Qualcomm added that it’s also seeking an LEO against iPhones that used cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.

Analysts have suggested Qualcomm are talking about Intel indirectly, although they never name Intel in its official statement. But it is widely known that Intel began supplying chips to some iPhone 7 devices in September 2016.

Through a Cease and Desist order, Qualcomm is also attempting to block the sale of devices already in the US it believes infringe on its patents. Apple’s iPhones are assembled in Asia. Don Rosenberg, EVP and general counsel at Qualcomm said: “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it. These lawsuits seek to stop Apple’s infringement of six of our patented technologies.”

The row began in January when Apple sued Qualcomm alleging them of being guilty of overcharging them for chips, and refused to pay $1 billion in rebates. Qualcomm hit back in a counterclaim against Apple for breaching agreements and a number of other allegations.

Qualcomm then subsequently initiated legal proceedings against four Apple iPhone manufacturers for failing to pay royalties and breaching licensing agreements, before Apple launched a legal attack on Qualcomm’s business at the start of this month. Despite Qualcomm’s latest onslaught, the short-term impact on Apple is expected to be limited. Qualcomm has indicated that it expects the ITC to begin an investigation in August, but the case will not be tried until next year.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Qualcomm fires back at Apple’s monopoly abuse accusations

Written on Monday, 23 January 2017 06:45

Qualcomm has fired back at Apple after it sued the company on Friday, 20 January, over allegations of monopoly abuse. Some analysts suspect Apple is taking advantage of the monopoly abuse lawsuit filed against Qualcomm by the US Federal Trade Commission, to pave the way for other mobile chipset makers, in order to forge more deals. Analyst Patrick Moorhead said he believes Apple “is not comfortable in feeling that they have only one [chipset] source and are taking this opportunity to go after Qualcomm.”

Apple claims Qualcomm owes it a billion dollars and says the company is refusing to pay since Apple cooperated with South Korean antitrust regulators looking into antitrust claims against Qualcomm in the country. However, the iPhone maker is being accused of hypocrisy since the company is facing its own monopoly abuse accusations regarding its App Store.

A lawsuit filed against Apple, Inc. in 2011, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for monopoly abuse regarding Apple’s App Store, was revived recently. A US appeals court received the civil suit on January 12. Apple has been accused of creating a monopoly by making its App Store the only place to purchase iPhone applications.

Lack of competition has thus pushed App Store prices higher. Google now holds a considerable market share over Apple in terms of how many apps and users it has, according to a 2016 report by App Promoters; in fact, it’s estimated to be as much as 75% market share for the Play Store.

Qualcomm has rejected Apple’s monopoly abuse claims as baseless, and insisted the iPhone maker “intentionally mischaracterized” agreements between the two companies as well as the value of Qualcomm’s technologies.

“While we are still in the process of reviewing the complaint in detail, it is quite clear that Apple’s claims are baseless,” responded Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg in a statement. “Apple has intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and share with all mobile device makers through our licensing program.”

The statement continues, “Apple has been actively encouraging regulatory attacks on Qualcomm’s business in various jurisdictions around the world, as reflected in the recent KFTC decision and FTC complaint, by misrepresenting facts and withholding information. We welcome the opportunity to have these meritless claims heard in court where we will be entitled to full discovery of Apple’s practices and a robust examination of the merits.”

Some analysts suspect Apple is trying to pave the way for other rival chipset makers to flourish, by taking advantage of the monopoly abuse claims being made against Qualcomm. Apple relies on Qualcomm for chip-based modems that enable iPhones and iPads to communicate with telecommunication networks. By playing into the antitrust claims against Qualcomm, Apple could forge better deals with its competitors, says Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.

“I think Apple is not comfortable in feeling that they have only one source and are taking this opportunity to go after Qualcomm,” said Moorhead. “Qualcomm is being looked at on every continent on the planet; this is probably, strategically, the right time for Apple to do this.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Facebook Inc. faces a class-action lawsuit in California over allegations of systematically scanning users’ private messages going through the social network without the users’ permission. Facebook then reportedly makes a profit from the data it obtains by sharing the information with advertisers and marketers. There’s a chance that Facebook has violated federal privacy laws.

There have been several reports shared on social media outlets recently warning users of Facebook’s alleged misuse of private information. The company has the ability to scan the URLs within users’ private messages for purposes such as anti-malware protection and industry-standard searches for child pornography. However, there are claims that Facebook also uses this information to sell to advertising agencies and other user-targeting services.

There are, of course, two sides to every story. Facebook has defended itself arguing that it scans users’ private messages in bulk, maintaining records anonymously and used collectively. Meanwhile, The Verge reports that Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley, the plaintiffs, say Facebook scans and collects URL-related data in searchable form, which violates both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the California Invasion of Privacy Act.

Technical analysis conducted by the plaintiffs suggests that each URL-related message is stored in a private message database called ‘Titan’ that displays the date and time that a message was sent, along with other personal information such as the IDs of both the user and the sender. But Facebook claims to have ended this practice long ago.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNET: “We agree with the court’s finding that the alleged conduct did not result in any actual harm and that it would be inappropriate to allow plaintiffs to seek damages on a class-wide basis. The remaining claims related to historical practices that are entirely lawful, and we look forward to resolving those claims on the merits.”

The plaintiffs, however, remain skeptical, believing that Facebook continues to collect links from users’ private messages. A quote from the lawsuit says: “Facebook’s source code not only reveals that Facebook continues to acquire URL content from private messages, but that it also continues to make use of the content it acquires.”The original lawsuit was filed back in 2012 and could likely proceed.

Published in Apps