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Apple fires back at Qualcomm in lawsuit over battery patents

The spat over the intellectual property that goes into your iPhone continues to escalate.

Judge's gavel.
The latest twist in the legal wrangling between Apple and Qualcomm: Apple is countersuing.
Getty Images

Apple and Qualcomm probably won't be wishing each other a happy holiday. 

The battle between the two tech heavyweights rose another notch as Apple filed a countersuit against Qualcomm, alleging that the chipmaker is using some of Apple's technology in its line of processors that power rival smartphones. 

The legal spat comes down to an argument about battery life. In July, Qualcomm accused Apple of illegally using Qualcomm tech related to saving battery power. Now Apple is arguing that Qualcomm is using Apple tech in the Snapdragon 800 and 820 processors, which are used in phones made by the likes of Samsung. The phone makers are not listed in the suit. 

"Apple's patents are critical to what consumers value in a handset – cutting-edge functionality with superior battery life," the suit said. 

This is all part of bigger argument between the two over how much Apple should be paying Qualcomm for patents on tech that goes into the iPhone. Apple argues that the royalties are unfairly based on the total value of the phone and that it should be paying according to the value of the modem that powers the device's connection. Qualcomm said it has a wide range of technologies that go into all smartphones, and that Apple isn't recognizing those contributions. 

Apple declined to comment beyond the filing. A Qualcomm spokesmen wasn't immediately available to comment. 

The battle has spilled over to the US International Trade Commission, in which Qualcomm has asked the agency to ban importation of iPhones running on modems supplied by rival Intel. Intel is believed to power iPhones that run on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. 

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