Qualcomm intensified its ongoing row with Apple after requesting a US agency bans the sale of certain iPhones it alleges infringe on up to six of its patents.

In a statement, Qualcomm said it is filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on the grounds Apple had “engaged in the unlawful importation and sale” of some iPhones.

Qualcomm argued the patents in question “cover key technologies and enable important features and functions in iPhones”, including capabilities to extend battery life and improve efficiency of the devices.

The company urged the ITC to instigate an investigation into Apple’s infringing imports, as well as issue a Limited Exclusion Order (LEO) to bar importation of the devices into the US and stop “Apple’s unlawful and unfair use of Qualcomm’s technology”.

In addition to the latest patent row between the companies, Qualcomm said it is also seeking the LEO against iPhones using cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm’s affiliates.

The company did not name Intel in its statement, but it is known Intel began to supply chips on some iPhone 7 devices, which launched in September 2016.

Through a Cease and Desist order, Qualcomm is also trying to block the sale of devices already in the US it believes infringe on its patents. Apple’s iPhones are assembled in Asia.

“Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it,” said Don Rosenberg, EVP and general counsel at Qualcomm: “These lawsuits seek to stop Apple’s infringement of six of our patented technologies.”

Tit for tat
The legal row between the two companies broke out in January when Apple sued Qualcomm for overcharging for chips, and refusing to pay $1 billion in rebates.

Qualcomm hit back in a counterclaim against Apple for breaching agreements and a number of other allegations.

The company then sued four Apple iPhone manufactuers for failing to pay royalties and breaching licensing agreements, before Apple launched a legal attack on Qualcomm’s business in a federal court earlier this month.

Despite Qualcomm’s latest onslaught, the short-term impact on Apple is likely to be limited.

Qualcomm said it expects the ITC to begin an investigation in August, but the case will not be tried until next year.