Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Apple Loses Patent Case to Qualcomm: Here’s What It Means

Apple Loses Patent Case to Qualcomm: Here’s What It Means

Following an eight-day trial, jurors found that Apple infringed on three patents related to smartphone features affecting battery life, internet connection speed, and power saving on various iPhone models.

The Qualcomm patents covered three key pieces of technology. But the setting of a per-phone royalty rate for Qualcomm's technology gives the chip supplier a fresh line of attack in its two-year old legal battle with Apple.

In a preliminary ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that Qualcomm owed Apple almost $1 billion in rebate payments that were part of the business cooperation agreement of the two companies.

Apple then filed the lawsuit stating Qualcomm had missed rebate payments, which amounted to almost $1 billion. "The stakes in that case are higher: the dollar amounts are staggering, and it goes to the core of Qualcomm's business model".

Qualcomm previous year sued Apple alleging it had violated patents related to helping mobile phones get better battery life.

While the agreement worked for several years, Qualcomm made a decision to stop paying Apple when it found that the company was making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm at the time over antitrust violations.

"Today's unanimous jury verdict is the latest victory in our worldwide patent litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them", Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a release announcing the verdict.

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. That dispute is focused on Qualcomm's patent royalties with Apple and involves billions, Cnet said. The judge sided with Apple in this issue, ordering Qualcomm to pay the $1 billion it owed. The trial concluded in San Jose, California, earlier this year, but the judge still hasn't ruled. The Cupertino, California-based company has accused Qualcomm of using its control over so-called standard essential patents, which covers technology uniformly adopted by telecommunications providers and equipment makers, to extract excessive royalties for the entire patent portfolio, including non-essential patents, that it licenses to smartphone makers.

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