Qualcomm wins $31M verdict against Apple for patent infringement

Ceria Alfonso
Marcha 17, 2019

Apple's ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm includes accusations that the chipmaker has been charging for invalid patents and claiming the chipmaker was seeking a disproportionate amount for a single component.

USA smartphone chip titan Qualcomm said Friday it won a $31 million verdict in its multifront war with Apple over patented technology used in iPhones. Qualcomm jumped as much as 3.5 percent before finishing up 2.2 percent at the close in NY trading. Qualcomm counters that its patents covering the way phones connect to wireless networks are essential to today's smartphones, and it wants recognition - and royalties - for that. There will be billions of dollars at stake in this case.

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.

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

A jury in a federal court in Southern California ordered that Apple pay Qualcomm for patent infringement for chips used on iPhone 7, 8 and X models.

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The Qualcomm patents covered three key pieces of technology. US courts have been unwilling to order outright sales bans and favor financial remedies.

"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", said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel for Qualcomm.

"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. About 1.4 billion smartphones were sold past year, according to IDC.

Qualcomm also suffered a setback with US 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.

In a statement, Apple said the company is "disappointed" in the verdict. The judge sided with Apple in this issue, ordering Qualcomm to pay the $1 billion it owed.

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