Apple infringed three Qualcomm patents, jury finds - Hardware - Software

Jeannie Matthews
March 19, 2019

As you might imagine, Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg had a different outlook on the decision, calling it "the latest victory in our worldwide litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them".

A jury found that the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X violated two of Qualcomm's patents. Now as per the agreement, Qualcomm would give Apple rebates on the payments as long as Apple refrained from attacking them in courts or helping other regulators.

Qualcomm requested a charge of $1.41 on each iPhone that infringes on its technology and that was the amount approved to be paid after the court ruled in their favour.

A USA federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple almost US$1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments, though the decision is unlikely to result in Qualcomm writing a check to Apple because of other developments in the dispute.

Qualcomm late previous year escalated a legal war with Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of stealing secrets and sharing them with mobile chip rival Intel, according to court documents.

The $31 million penalty is small change for Apple, the second most valuable USA company after Microsoft Corp, with a market value of $866 billion and annual revenue totaling hundreds of billions of dollars.

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What matters most here is not even the money considering the fact that both companies spent millions in legal fees but the victory which asserts that Qualcomm intellectual property is invaluable. Readers are cautioned that Patently Apple does not offer an opinion on the merit of the case and strictly presents the allegations made in said legal cases / lawsuits.

The court has decided Apple's iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X infringe two Qualcomm patents, while the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X devices infringe on a third.

The verdict sets the stage for a bigger trial in April between the two companies next month in San Diego.

"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", Rosenberg said in a statement.

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.

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