Apple is Guilty of Infringing on Three Qualcomm Patents

Gerald Bowen
March 17, 2019

In general, the contract factories that built Apple's iPhones would pay Qualcomm billions of dollars per year for the use of Qualcomm's patented technology in iPhones, a cost that Apple would reimburse the contract factories for.

But anorther legal decision involving Qualcomm and Apple was announced today.

A third patent related to promoting rich graphics in games while protecting battery life, according to Qualcomm.

It's unlikely a payment will be forthcoming as Reuters notes that Apple's contract factories have already withheld the $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm.

The $31 million that was awarded to Qualcomm covers a trio of patents.

While the end of the Qualcomm-Apple courtroom battle is far from reaching its end, a USA judge issued a preliminary ruling that might not make Qualcomm happy. Apple has sought to dismantle what it calls Qualcomm's illegal business model of both licensing patents and selling chips to phone makers. We are gratified that courts all over the world are rejecting Apple's strategy of refusing to pay for the use of our IP.

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It's hard to believe the arrangement between Qualcomm and Apple was established in the first place. 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.

Qualcomm also suffered a setback with USA trade regulators who found that some iPhones infringed one of the San Diego-based company's patents but declined to bar their importation into the United States, citing the damage such a move would inflict on rival Intel Corp. But Qualcomm won't be expected to write a check unless it loses the case when it heads to trial in April.

The jury agreed with Qualcomm's contention that it should be paid $1.41 per iPhone relying on three of its patents.

"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.

Qualcomm in turn alleged that it stopped paying the rebate payments because Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm over antitrust allegations. "This isn't something that will bring Apple to the table with any sense of urgency", Kroub said.

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