Apple has escalated its legal war against Qualcomm with a fourth lawsuit, this time in the UK. Apple says the lawsuit was actually filed back in January, alongside the other three, but it’s only now being noticed due to a refiling.
Details on the lawsuit are pretty vague at the moment, with Bloomberg reporting that the court has only said the case has something to do with patents and designs. But it seems safe to assume that it’s along the lines of the lawsuits Apple has filed against Qualcomm in the US and China.
In those lawsuits, Apple claimed that Qualcomm had been significantly overcharging for the use of basic patents and generally abusing its position as a market leader.
Apple’s lawsuits began hitting just days after the Federal Trade Commission, in one of its final acts under the Obama administration, announced that it would sue Qualcomm for violations of anti-competition law. The FTC alleged that, in the US, Qualcomm used the fact that it’s the dominant supplier of smartphone modems to demand higher patent payments from all the big smartphone makers. Apple, in particular, was called out for allegedly making an exclusivity deal with Qualcomm in order to avoid its onerous terms.
A Qualcomm spokesperson declined to comment on the new lawsuit, saying, “We have not seen the complaint and therefore we are unable to comment.” In the past, Qualcomm has strongly denied Apple’s and the FTC’s claims.
Apple pointed The Verge to a statement it issued back in January, saying, “For many years Qualcomm has unfairly insisted on charging royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with.” The statement claimed that Qualcomm charges Apple five times more than all other patent licensors combined. “Unfortunately after years of disagreement over what constitutes a fair and reasonable royalty we have no choice left but to turn to the courts,” the statement says.
Update March 2nd, 5:25PM ET: This story has been updated with a statement from Qualcomm.