Qualcomm's chairman calls out Apple for its iPhone chip royalty lawsuit

Key Points
  • Qualcomm currently receives a cut of every iPhone produced.
  • Apple expanded an existing suit against Qualcomm, claiming the chipmaker should only be charged for either a patent license or a chip — but not both.
Paul Jacobs
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Qualcomm's chairman, Paul Jacobs, is used to legal "battles," he told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" in an interview that aired on Tuesday.

Apple is challenging Qualcomm's license agreements in federal court. Jacobs said that during his time as CEO from 2005 to 2014 he faced similar fights.

"People want to get around, they see intellectual property as a cost in their billable materials, and they just want to pay less," he said. "But for us, we want to continue to drive technology forward, and importantly, we want to spread it across a very broad ecosystem as well."

Apple initially sued Qualcomm in January for allegedly withholding $1 billion in rebates because Apple helped Korean regulators investigate Qualcomm. Apple has since expanded the lawsuit, challenging the company's royalty license.

Currently, Qualcomm gets a cut of every iPhone produced in exchange for supplying Apple with the chips that allow phones to connect with cellular data networks. Apple argues it should only be charged for either a patent license or a chip, but not both.

"Qualcomm's illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry," Apple said in a statement.

"They supply us with a single connectivity component, but for years have been demanding a percentage of the total cost of our products — effectively taxing Apple's innovation. We believe deeply in the value of intellectual property but we shouldn't have to pay them for technology breakthroughs they have nothing to do with. We've always been willing to pay a fair rate for standard technology used in our products and since they've refused to negotiate reasonable terms we're asking the courts for help."

In an April response to the suit, Qualcomm said, "We intend to vigorously defend our business model, and pursue our right to protect and receive fair value for our technological contributions to the industry."

— Reuters contributed to this story.