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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

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.