Manufacturer Hebei Hengbo Fine Ceramic Material is suing Apple over a breach of contract involving high purity alumina melt stock, a key material in the sapphire glass process. Hebei Hengbo wants to revoke an existing deal with Apple and collect damages (via AppleInsider).
In 2014 there were rumors that Apple would use sapphire glass screens in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The company signed a deal with GT Advanced Technologies in 2013, which included a US$578 million payment to help speed up development. But it didn’t go as planned.
Apple withheld the final US$139 payment, allegedly because it wasn’t happy with GT’s progress. Then, in October 2014 GT filed for bankruptcy, and court documents placed blame on Apple for “imposed oppressive and burdensome terms and obligations on GTAT.” Apple agreed to settle GTAT’s outstanding debt in 2014 for US$439 million.
Details about the lawsuit aren’t known, however the damages that Hebai Hengbo wants is worth more than US$75,000, which is the statutory minimum for civil cases to be heard by a U.S. federal court.