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Apple claims Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors use its patented technology

Apple claims Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors use its patented technology

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Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Apple and Qualcomm’s legal battle continues today with a new claim of patent infringement focused on some of Qualcomm’s top processors.

Apple claims that Qualcomm is infringing eight battery life patents with its processors. In particular, it singles out the Snapdragon 800 and the Snapdragon 820. Those aren’t Qualcomm’s most recent processors, but they’re part of Qualcomm’s flagship line and powered high-end phones as recently as a year ago.

The patents cover technologies that help a processor draw as little power as necessary and allow a processor to quickly increase and decrease its power usage. The new claims were first reported by Reuters.

A smaller battle in Apple and Qualcomm’s larger legal fight

The new claims are a late counterstrike to patent infringement claims that Qualcomm made over the summer. Qualcomm alleges that Apple is in violation of six of its own patents, also having to do with battery life, and is trying to get iPhones banned as a result.

Apple is filing these new patent infringement claims in an attempt to get Qualcomm’s patent claims dismissed. Apple says it began filing for battery life patents long before Qualcomm went after its own battery life patents, and it says that Qualcomm’s infringement claims appear “to be a blatant effort to take credit for the innovation of others.” The company’s filing goes on to claim that Qualcomm selectively gained patents that covered technologies that might be inside Apple products “much like a common patent troll.”

Qualcomm didn’t respond to a request for comment. Apple said it didn’t have anything to add beyond what’s in the filing.

This fight over battery life patents is really just a small skirmish in the larger legal fight being waged by the two companies. The dispute kicked off at the beginning of the year, when Apple began filing lawsuits around the globe accusing Qualcomm of abusing its market position to charge unreasonable prices for its LTE modems.

Qualcomm has denied these charges and countersued Apple for withholding payments, violating patents, and sharing proprietary code.

But for the time being, things aren’t looking great for Qualcomm. Apple’s claims are echoed by lawsuits that regulators from a number of countries have chased Qualcomm with in recent years — to some success. The US is going after Qualcomm along those lines, too. On top of that, Samsung and Intel are trying to help the Federal Trade Commission’s case, so Qualcomm has a lot to fight back against.

Update November 29th, 11:33AM ET: This story has been updated with more information from Apple’s legal filing.