US trade officials have agreed to investigate Qualcomm Inc's allegations that Apple Inc infringed on patents with its iPhone 7 and other devices, the US International Trade Commission said yesterday.
The ITC is expected to take a decision "at the earliest practicable time" and has set a target date for completion of its investigation within the next 45 days, according to the commission's statement.
The complaint was filed by Qualcomm in early July, asking US trade regulators to ban certain models of the iPhone that contained so-called broadband modem chips, not made by Qualcomm that helped phones connect to wireless data networks. Apple started using broadband modem chips made by Intel Corp in the iPhone 7. (See: Qualcomm asks US authorities to ban imports of some iPhone and iPad models)
Qualcomm has not alleged that Intel chips violated its patents but said the way Apple used them in the iPhone did.
"We look forward to the ITC's expeditious investigation of Apple's ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the commission can provide,'' Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement.
Meanwhile Qualcomm said in a press announcement, "The investigation will examine whether Apple has engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling certain mobile electronic devices, including iPhones and iPads that infringe one or more claims of six Qualcomm patents.
Qualcomm is requesting that the ITC issue a Limited Exclusion Order to bar importation, and a Cease and Desist Order to bar further sales and marketing in the US, of iPhones and iPads that use cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm's affiliates.
''Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC's decision to investigate Apple's unfair trade practices and the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm's patents,'' said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm. ''We look forward to the ITC's expeditious investigation of Apple's ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the Commission can provide.''