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US commission to probe Qualcomm's patent spat with Apple

The U.S. International Trade Commission has decided to pursue an investigation into Qualcomm Inc.'s patent infringement complaint against Apple Inc., Qualcomm said Aug. 8.

The chipmaker in July accused Apple of infringing six of its patents for key technologies that are used in some iPhone models. It alleged that Apple engaged in unfair trade practices by importing and selling such devices.

Qualcomm is seeking a U.S. import ban on certain iPhone models that do not use its chips, as well as a cease and desist order to block the sales of the infringing devices that have already been imported into the U.S.

An administrative law judge within the ITC is expected to make an initial determination of Apple's liability in the case, with the decision subject to the commission's review. The agency will set a target completion date for the probe within 45 days after it was called.

Qualcomm welcomed the commission's decision and is expecting an "expeditious investigation" into the matter, Don Rosenberg, the company's executive vice president and general counsel, said in a separate news release.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has urged the ITC to dismiss Qualcomm's bid for an import ban on the iPhone units. In response, Qualcomm accused the tech group of "misdirecting" trade watchdogs.