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The sun rose, you woke up, and Qualcomm sued Apple three times

iPhones and Apple Watch have pinched plenty, even stuff from webOS, apparently

The dispute between Apple and Qualcomm has deepened, with the latter company firing off three new lawsuits claiming infringement of its patents.

Qualcomm provided the three filings [1,2,3, all PDFs] to The Register and said they pertain to “a total of 16 additional patents that Apple is currently using in its iPhones.”

“Five of these patents are also included in a new complaint filed in the International Trade Commission. Like the patents we asserted at the ITC in July, all of the 16 patents are non-standards essential patents implemented outside of the modem. Apple continues to use each of these patents in its devices without paying for them.”

Qualcomm's various claims covered iPhones 5 through X, and also the Apple Watch.

Some of Qualcomm's claims pertained to specific technologies it developed, like Quick Charge, the way CPUs handle memory, or the way radios behave on carrier networks.

Others, such as US 8683362 B2, “Card metaphor for activities in a computing device”, were acquired by Qualcomm. The card metaphor patent was invented by Palm Inc for WebOS. Qualcomm alleges that Apple's infringed it since iOS 7 debuted in 2013.

Qualcomm's claims all quote Apple executives ire at finding Samsung copying Apple designs. Steve Jobs' 1994 utterance “Picasso had a saying, ‘good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas” also gets an airing.

Qualcomm's tried to establish that Apple is a serial patent avoider that nonetheless knows the value of intellectual property and should therefore cough up.

The three sueballs seek to have the US District Court rule that Apple has infringed the patents, get it to pay royalties, requested a permanent injunction on infringement of the patents and legal costs.

The Register has sought comment from Apple.

We doubt we'll get one.

It's more likely that Apple will get its own lawyers busy, because International Trade Commission cases can lead to import bans. As the Arista vs. Cisco case demonstrated, it is possible to rework products to remove contentious IP. But it's not a quick or cheap process. Even though Apple is extraordinarily wealthy and powerful, it could conceivably find itself with iPhones galore stuck on the docks and unable to enter the United States.

Hence the high likelihood of a counter-suit, a tactic Apple's already deployed this week after Qualcomm alleged it had mis-used eight power patents. Whatever happens, encourage your kids to study patent law. ®

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