U.S. Trade Commission now investigating Apple in Qualcomm patent dispute

The U.S. International Trade Commission is investigating Qualcomm’s claims that Apple is violating several of its patents related to mobile technologies in several of its iPhone models. Qualcomm is seeking a ban on imports of the iPhone models that allegedly infringe on its IP.

Earlier this year, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion, alleging that the company was collecting royalties on patents that it had “nothing to do with.” In April, Apple announced that it would no longer be paying Qualcomm any royalties as it pursued legal action against them.

Last month, Qualcomm filed suit alleging that Apple was currently infringing on six patents that helped improve battery life on some iPhone models.

It’s important to note that this is really just the U.S. agency admitting that they’re taking a look at Qualcomm’s claims, with the USITC noting specifically that it “has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case.”

The admission of an investigation from USITC is still good news for Qualcomm, which has been suffering as the legal spat with Apple dramatically affects its bottom line. In its most recent earnings release, the company reported a 40 percent decline in year-over-year profit, with revenue sliding 11.1 percent as well. Qualcomm’s collection of royalties makes up a substantial percentage of its broader business.

“Qualcomm is pleased with the ITC’s decision to investigate Apple’s unfair trade practices and
the unauthorized importation of products using Qualcomm’s patents,” said Qualcomm exec Don Rosenberg in a statement. “We look forward to the ITC’s expeditious investigation of Apple’s ongoing infringement of our intellectual property and the accelerated relief that the Commission can provide.”

We have reached out to Apple for comment.