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Foxconn is not in settlement discussions with Qualcomm in Apple fight: lawyer

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The lead lawyer for the group of Apple Inc device engineers looking to at least $9 billion in damages from Qualcomm Inc said on Sunday the contract manufacturers are not in settlement discussions with the mobile chip supplier, and are “gearing up and the direction of the trial” in April.

FILE PHOTO: A motorcyclist rides past the logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, Taipei, Taiwan, March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

The conflict is only one aspect of the global legal battle between the supervisors, Apple and Qualcomm, which supplies modem chips that help phones connect to wireless data networks.

Last week, Qualcomm secured a preliminary victory in a patent lawsuit in China would have banned the sale of some Apple iPhones. Apple later she said that it is already in order, but would change the software, “on all potential concerns” about its compliance.

But Qualcomm was also handed a setback in an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, when a judge said that the will not be able to mention that Apple dumped Qualcomm chips competitive with Intel Corp. when the case goes to a trial the following month.

Qualcomm representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on Sunday outside of U.S. business hours.

The group of contract manufacturers, including Foxconn’s parent company Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., Pegatron Corp., Wistron Corp. and Compal Electronics Inc. – became embroiled in a dispute between Apple and Qualcomm last year.

In the supply chain for the electronics, and contract manufacturers to buy Qualcomm chips and pay royalties when they build their phones, and in turn is reimbursed by companies like Apple. Qualcomm sued the group last year, and claimed that they had stopped the payment of royalties related to products from Apple, and Apple in their defense.

The contract manufacturers have since filed claims of their own against Qualcomm, alleging the San Diego company is the practice of charging money for chips, but then also ask for a reduction of the adjusted sales price of a mobile phone as a patent royalty payment constitutes a restrictive business practice.

They are seeking $9 billion in damages from Qualcomm for the royalties that they claim were illegal. That figure could triple if the manufacturers succeed on their antitrust claims.

Ted Boutrous, a high-profile partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which is representing the agreement of manufacturers, told Reuters that the rulings in Qualcomm executives to suggest, there were meaningful discussions on a settlement with the contract manufacturers were “false.”

“To the extent that Qualcomm has indicated that there are licensing discussions with contract manufacturers, they have basically the same kind of unreasonable demands that they get to where they are now, that the laying on of important pre-conditions to even speak about a new regime,” Boutrous said.

In July, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf told investors on the company’s quarterly earnings call, that Qualcomm and Apple were in talks to resolve the dispute.

During a hearing in the case in San Diego on Nov. 30, one of Apple’s lawyers disputed that idea, that there was not “the conversations in a number of months. So the parties are on the stick, and goes … to go in to the test.”

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese and Himani sarkar

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