The American international trade watchdog is officially investigating Apple over Qualcomm’s claims the iChief has infringed its patents with its iPhones and iPads.

What usually happens with some sort of patent dispute is one companies pays the other to make the headache go away, but considering how much the Apple/Qualcomm relationship has deteriorated, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Qualcomm ignore any settlements to allow an import ban on the products.

That is of course if Qualcomm wins, which is by no-means a given.

These are battle hardened lawyers, who might well have the law on their side.

It’s an incredibly complicated aspect of the law, where interpretation is common.

“The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain mobile electronic devices and radio frequency and processing components thereof,” the agency has said in a statement.

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