The recent update on the Apple-Qualcomm legal dispute comes with Qualcomm’s appeal for the import ban of some iPhones getting denied. Apple primarily is facing this lawsuit against those iPhones that contain chips made by Intel corp, which Qualcomm believes, infringes on its patents.
What makes this decision so interesting is that even though it was declared that Apple did in fact infringe on one of three patents discussed in the case, Judge Pender took the high road here and decided to favour Apple instead. He highlighted that it was the “public interest factor” that outweighed Qualcomm’s request for a ban, and led him to make this decision.
The Judge’s decision is yet to be reviewed by the full commission, however, taking the current situation into perspective, it seems that the ball is in Apple’s court. Qualcomm feels that it makes no sense to turn a blind eye, if it is evident that the infringement has occurred. Qualcomm general counsel Don rosenberg expressed the company’s take over the matter -“We are pleased the ALJ found infringement of our patented technology, but it makes no sense to then allow infringement to continue by denying an import ban." (source)
If the other judges go along, this could mean the end of Qualcomm’s hope to extract what otherwise could have been a hefty revenue out of the iPhone maker. But even if a ban was to go into effect, it is still not clear what iPhone models would be affected.
In a statement, Apple described how Qualcomm had repeatedly demanded unfair royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with - just to protect their monopoly. Apple stated, “We’re glad the ITC stopped Qualcomm’s attempt to damage competition and ultimately harm innovators and US consumers” (source)
He also added, that if this decision goes through, it will violate the ITC mandate that protects American innovators by blocking the import of infringing products. He believes there are many ways Apple could stop infringing their technology without affecting the public interest, if they desired to.
This whole altercation started in July 2017 when Qualcomm filed an ITC against Apple claiming that the iPhones that consisted of Intel chips, infringed on 6 Qualcomm patents. These patents described technology used to help smartphones improve their performance by elongating their battery life. When Qualcomm filed the lawsuit against Apple, they made it clear that they were primarily after the way the Intel chips had been enforced into their mobiles - and that it was not actually the chip that violated their patents.
“Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies or cellular standards,” Don Rosenberg said in a statement. “Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it” (source)
Steven Rodgers, Intel general counsel remarked that Qualcomm had “publicly disparaged Intel’s products” as inferior to Qualcomm during the case.
In addition to this, Qualcomm has also accused apple of stealing valuable information, and disclosing it to Intel in order to supplement the performance of Intel chips used in the iPhone.
“It is easy to say things, but Intel’s track record is clear,” Rodgers wrote in his post. “Every day, we push the boundaries of computing and communication technologies. And, the proof is in the pudding: last year, the U.S. Patent Office awarded more patents to Intel than to Qualcomm.” (source)