Qualcomm defeats Apple in iPhone patent case

Ruben Fields
March 17, 2019

Worse, a former Apple engineer who was going to testify that it was he who invented a key idea for one of Qualcomm's patented technologies reversed course during the trial and refused to take the stand after it became clear that there was no evidence to support the claim.

But anorther legal decision involving Qualcomm and Apple was announced today. Another addressed faster downloads and the third covers battery life and graphics processing.

A woman holds her phone near an Apple company logo in Beijing, China December 14, 2018. The case involved a lawsuit Qualcomm filed against Apple in July 2017 alleging the company had infringed upon some of its smartphone tech patents.

On another front in the complex legal battle between two United States companies a federal judge in Southern California on Thursday issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple almost a billion dollars in patent royalty rebate payments the chip maker is withholding, according to USA media reports. We are gratified that courts all over the world are rejecting Apple's strategy of refusing to pay for the use of our IP. The companies had a falling out in 2016 when Qualcomm - which had been the exclusive supplier of iPhone chipsets for five years - halted quarterly royalty rebates it had been paying Apple. It declined to comment on whether it would appeal. For example, next month a trial will start up in San Diego that will deal with billions of dollars in royalties. But Qualcomm won't be expected to write a check unless it loses the case when it heads to trial in April. Qualcomm's patent licensing model relies on charging phone makers a cut of the selling price of the phone, a practice Apple has alleged is unfair and illegal. Qualcomm believes they were justified in halting rebate payments, as Apple made "false and misleading" complaints to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, violating their agreement.

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In a separate agreement, Qualcomm agreed to pay Apple "a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack [Qualcomm] in court or with regulators".

"The three patents found to be infringed in this case represent just a small fraction of Qualcomm's valuable portfolio of tens of thousands of patents", Mr. Rosenberg added.

"Apple is very skilled at handling appeals and taking a longer-term view".

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