Apple infringed three Qualcomm patents, jury finds
March 16: Mobile phone chip supplier Qualcomm Inc on Friday won a legal victory against iPhone maker Apple Inc, with a jury in federal court in San Diego finding that Apple owes Qualcomm about $31 million for infringing three of its patents.
Qualcomm last year sued Apple alleging it had violated patents related to helping mobile phones get better battery life. During an eight-day trial, Qualcomm asked the jury to award it unpaid patent royalties of up to $1.41 per iPhone that violated the patents.
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. 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.
The biggest case, filed by Apple in early 2017, begins in April. Apple has sought to dismantle what it calls Qualcomm's illegal business model of both licensing patents and selling chips to phone makers. Qualcomm has accused Apple of using its technology without paying.
"The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly," Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel, said in a statement. "We are gratified that courts all over the world are rejecting Apple's strategy of refusing to pay for the use of our IP."
In a statement, Apple said it was disappointed with the outcome.
"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 US federal court, and around the world," Apple said. It declined to comment on whether it would appeal.
In other cases against Apple, Qualcomm has won sales bans on iPhones in Germany and China, though the Chinese ban has not been enforced and Apple has taken moves it believes allow it to resume sales in Germany.
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.
During an earlier trial between Qualcomm and the US Federal Trade Commission, Apple executives outlined their company's extensive negotiations to reduce those license fees to $7.50 per phone for Qualcomm's patents. -Reuters