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.

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Gulf Coast braces for Zeta after storm strengthens into hurricane

Hurricane Zeta's forecast path. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday as Zeta strengthened into a hurricane and threatened Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as it moved towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The state of play: Zeta was expected to make landfall on the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday night, bringing with it a "dangerous storm surge" and "heavy rainfall" as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Service said.

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Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court in a 5-3 decision Monday rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.