Last Friday, Apple filed a 100-page lawsuit against Qualcomm, a global mobile chip supplier that pits the iPhone makers against one of its most important suppliers. The complaint alleges that Qualcomm is demanding royalties for technology it has nothing to do with—namely Apple’s fingerprint reader and high-capacity storage technology. Apple accuses Qualcomm of abusing its power from a monopolistic position.
They also believe the demand for royalties is retaliation for Apple cooperating with investigations into Qualcomm’s practices from the Federal Trade Commission, as well as testifying for investigators from Taiwanese, South Korean, and European government organizations. Notably, Qualcomm was fined $853 million by South Korea last month for violating their antitrust laws.
Apple perceives Qualcomm’s behavior as nothing short of extortion for Apple’s decision to cooperate with government entities. The lawsuit also alleges that Qualcomm has not made over $1 billion in schedule payments, which perhaps makes the lawsuit amount more understandable—though it is still an enormous sum.
Why This Lawsuit Matters for You
Now, Adler & Manson is not a commercial litigation firm. We fight for “the little guy,” the individual workers who have helped to make these corporations what they are. We won’t speak to the truth or veracity of Apple’s claims, but we will speak to the sort of assumptions Apple seems to be making with its lawsuit.
See, as Kansas City workers’ compensation and bodily injury attorneys, our firm is familiar with the tactics corporate America utilizes to protect themselves from lawsuits and large claims. The vast majority of injured people in this country aren’t looking for a massive payday—they just need money to pay for their medical bills, provide for their kids, and cover their living expenses while they recover. Those sums are large to everyday people, but to corporations and insurance companies, they’re relatively small.
Despite that fact, insurance companies and other corporations like to seek limits (caps) on the amount that they have to pay. This is called tort reform. They will fight for tort reforms that insulate them from paying large sums for their own negligence and mistakes, and they’ll leave families and individuals burdened with any amount over the cap. No matter how life-altering the injury, no matter how destructive the mistake, large businesses and insurance companies will fight to limit every penny that can be recovered against them in a lawsuit—even if it represents .1% of their monthly revenue.
But when those same companies have been wronged? They’ll ask for an amount equal to the GDP of a small country. All the talk about “limits” and “protecting businesses” goes right out the window.
Now, you tell us: who can afford liability caps? People with 3 kids and a mortgage who make less than $50,000 a year? Or a company that gets hit with $1 billion in missed payments and still has a successful quarter?
This isn’t an indictment of Apple—far from it. If their allegations are true, they have every right to sue Qualcomm for every withheld cent.
However, on the other side of that coin, we would expect Apple and other corporations like them to respond reasonably if any of their customers were entitled to a claim—most of which are worth less than a fraction of the $1 billion they’re demanding.
If you’re facing a corporate giant or insurance company, Adler & Manson has the Kansas City workers’ compensation and bodily injury attorneys you need to hold them accountable-- just as they do to others. Call (816) 399-2283 today.