The OEMs are continuing to pay license fees for non-Apple products that they make, but not for Apple products, even though the same agreements apply to both sets of devices.
"Their gripe, their issue, appears to be with Apple", said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel.
Qualcomm last month sharply cut its guidance for the current quarter when it became clear that Apple would continue withholding reimbursements from the contract manufacturers. The complaint redacts the amount of royalties the defendants owe to Qualcomm, but says Apple is withholding substantial payments.
Now, Qualcomm is insisting that Apple was in no position to influence the manufacturers, as the license agreements were entered into before Apple sold the first iPhone.
Qualcomm's shares were marginally lower at $55.66 in premarket trading. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Now the fee is calculated as a percentage of the selling price of the phone.
Qualcomm is escalating its patent dispute with Apple by suing the contractors that build iPhones for the Cupertino-based company.
For its part Apple claimed Qualcomm is trying to charge it for patents it never used - it wants a $1bn rebate for alleged overpayments. To deny the case would continue to impede the progression of the technology and drive up the cost of smartphones for consumers, it argued. Qualcomm said those payments are really part of a complex series of agreements meant to ensure peace between the two companies.More news: Cannes festival opens with no Hollywood blockbusters
Qualcomm previously sued Apple, accusing it of breaking contracts and interfering in deals negotiated with iPhone suppliers.
Qualcomm is suing Chinese iPhone and iPad contract makers it says have stopped paying it royalties at the behest of Apple.
Prosecutors in a statement confirmed media reports that Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority filed a complaint in 2016 asking prosecutors to investigate executives from the holding company.
The other manufacturers listed by Qualcomm were Pegatron Corp, Wistron Corp and Compal Electronics Inc.
"This has been a strategically designed effort to damage us around the world", he said. He likened the resistance to paying for the use of Qualcomm technology to someone walking into an Apple store and refusing to pay full price for a smartphone.
"What they are saying is Apple is not paying us, so we are not paying you, and Apple has told us not to pay you", said Rosenberg.