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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The lawyer representing Apple’s contract manufacturers in their legal battle with Qualcomm spoke out Sunday night, criticizing the company both for its business tactics and for implying settlement talks were underway when there were none.

Big picture: Apple made similar complaints earlier this month, but these comments are the first from the contract manufacturers since Qualcomm sued them last year.

The contract manufacturers, which include Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron and Compel, are caught in the crossfire of the Apple-Qualcomm legal battle.

  • They have their own royalty agreements with Qualcomm, but have been withholding payments at Apple's direction for the iPhones they make.
  • Qualcomm, meanwhile, has sued the manufacturers for their non-payment.
  • Apple and Qualcomm also have plenty of direct lawsuits against one another in courts around the globe.

Between the lines: Apple and the contract manufacturers are turning up the heat on Qualcomm before the company faces the Federal Trade Commission's claims it violated antitrust law in a trial starting in January.

  • The move also comes after Qualcomm got a Chinese court to issue an injunction barring some iPhone sales there.
  • Apple says a software update removes the allegedly infringing feature and there should be no disruption to iPhone sales in China.

What they’re saying: Ted Boutrous, the lawyer representing contract manufacturers, took issue with Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf’s comments that his company was close to resolving its issues with Apple.

  • “Certainly, those are the kind of false statements the SEC looks at,” he said.
  • Asked if the securities regulator should indeed look at the statements, Boutrous didn't answer directly, but added they were “misleading” and could have an effect on investors.

Qualcomm told Axios last week that Mollenkopf'as comments referred both to the possibility of a settlement as well as to the fact that the cases are making their way through the courts.

Boutrous painted Qualcomm as isolated in the wide-ranging legal battles over its chip business.

  • “This is Qualcomm basically against the world," he said.
  • He said that Qualcomm had continued to make unreasonable demands of the manufacturers since their legal battle had begun.

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

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