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Kenny Louie / Flickr CC

Qualcomm on Wednesday announced a fresh lawsuit in its legal squabble with Apple, this time targeting the contract manufacturers who make the iPhone. The suit, filed in federal court in California, accuses Foxconn, Wistron, Pegatron and Compel of breaching their licensing contracts with Qualcomm.

While not disputing their contractual obligations to pay for the use of Qualcomm's inventions, the manufacturers say they must follow Apple's instructions not to pay. The license agreements with the manufacturers in many cases were entered into before Apple sold its first iPhone and Apple is not a party to the agreements. Further, the defendants are continuing to pay Qualcomm royalties for use of Qualcomm's technology in non-Apple products, under the very same agreements that apply to the Apple products.

Qualcomm has already sued Apple for interfering with these contracts, while Apple has sued Qualcomm for withholding licensing payments.

The argument: Apple contends that Qualcomm's royalty fees for its standards-essential patents are unreasonable, in particular because they are based on the total price of the phone. Qualcomm, meanwhile, stands by its royalty structure.

Why it matters: It's a high-stakes legal battle for both companies. Although Apple uses its own processor for the iPhone, it relies on Qualcomm for modem chips in order for its phones to run on Sprint and Verizon's network. Apple, meanwhile, is one of Qualcomm's biggest licensing customers thanks to the high price and strong sales of the iPhone.

Go deeper

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.