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Apple's legal war against Qualcomm spreads to China

Apple has sued Qualcomm Beijing for abusing its dominant position in the industry

Apple has accused Qualcomm Beijing of abusing its position in the industry as the dominant chip supplier by violating Chinese laws in an attempt to maintain a monopoly, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

Qualcomm, which is a major supplier of wireless connectivity chips to Apple and Samsung devices, is also alleged to have under delivered on promises it made to license patents widely and inexpensively, according to Reuters. Apple is now seeking 1 billion yuan (115 million) in damages as a result.

The lawsuit comes after the FTC issued a complaint against Qualcomm on 17 January, in which the company was accused of using anti-competitive tactics. Apple also issued a complaint on Friday to the federal court in California, requesting $1 billion in rebates for overcharged Qualcomm chips. It now appears the lawsuit has spread to Qualcomm's eastern divisions.

Although the company has not seen the lawsuit brought by Apple, Qualcomm stated the complaint "alleges a violation of China's Anti-Monopoly Law, and the other requests a determination of the terms of a patent license between Qualcomm and Apple for Qualcomm's cellular standard essentials patents".

Qualcomm claimed it has attempted to settle the matter with Apple, but insist the tech giant is simply trying to manoeuvre for a better deal.

"These filings by Apple's Chinese subsidiary are just part of Apple's efforts to find ways to pay less for Qualcomm's technology," said Don Rosenberg, executive VP and general counsel of Qualcomm. "Apple was offered terms consistent with terms accepted by more than one hundred other Chinese companies and refused to even consider them."

But Apple contests that it's regularly charged over "five times" more in its transactions than other companies, according to a statement to Business Insider, relating to its complaint on Friday. "Despite being just one of over a dozen companies who contributed to basic cellular standards, Qualcomm insists on charging Apple at least five times more in payments than all the other cellular patent licensors we have agreements with combined," the company said.

"To protect this business scheme, Qualcomm has taken increasingly radical steps - most recently withholding nearly $1 billion in payments from Apple as retaliation for responding truthfully to law enforcement agencies investigating them," it added.

Pressure is mounting against Qualcomm as the company faces legal action for unfair practices around the globe. In February 2015 Qualcomm was forced to hand over $975 million to China following a yearlong antitrust probe, and was most recently fined $854 million by South Korean authorities for unfair practices in patent licensing.

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