Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Tech | By

Apple infringed three Qualcomm patents, jury finds

Apple infringed three Qualcomm patents, jury finds

Qualcomm can now ask the judge for an order to halt further infringement of its patents by Apple.

"Qualcomm's ongoing campaign of patent infringement claims is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the larger issues they face with investigations into their business practices in USA federal court, and around the world", an Apple statement notes.

A US District Court judge handed down a preliminary decision awarding Apple $1 billion in its case against Qualcomm regarding royalties on modem chips. 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.

Apple violated patents and should pay $31 million in damages to mobile chip maker Qualcomm, a jury ruled. And it is unlikely that Qualcomm will make a new payment to Apple. Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement to Reuters: "Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm". I will simply point out how the Apple statement here mirrors Apple's rebuttal of Spotify's complaints in that it redirects the conversation to another topic.

While the damages awarded Friday aren't significant to either company, from Qualcomm's perspective, valuing just three of its more than 10,000 patents at $1.41 per phone shows the overall worth of its inventions.

Qualcomm's legal victory today covers a case that's only one of many legal tussles playing out in courtrooms around the world. The decision comes ahead of a highly anticipated trial next month between Apple and Qualcomm. It also claimed that Apple made "false and misleading" statements during a Korean Fair Trade Commission investigation into Qualcomm.

The $31 million penalty is small change for Apple, the second most valuable US company after Microsoft Corp, with a market value of $866 billion and annual revenue totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. Billions of dollars are at stake in that trial, which goes to the heart of the licensing dispute between the tech giants.

Today's ruling is likely to have little impact on your future iPhone, but that could change pending the results of future legal cases. That works out to $1.41 for each iPhone sold without a license for the Qualcomm technology used inside each device. Apple wasn't so lucky in Germany, where a Munich court blocked the sales of certain older iPhones that use chips from Intel.

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