© tom_schmucker dreamstime.com Business | March 04, 2019
Apple, Qualcomm legal slugfest continues with patent-challenge lawsuit
In the ongoing Apple-Qualcomm legal saga, a recent patent challenge filed by Qualcomm against Apple is being heard in Federal Court in San Diego this week and next.
As reported on by Reuters, the patent challenge trial, scheduled to last eight-days, endeavors to determine whether Apple violated Qualcomm patents around helping phones turn on more quickly and save battery life. Qualcomm’s position is that phones with Intel modem chips, which connect phones to wireless data networks, violated the patents and is seeking up to USD 1.41 in damages per infringing iPhone sold between mid-2017 and the fall of 2018. The total amount can only be estimated at tens of millions of dollars or more because Apple has never divulged how many of its phones contain Intel chips. Apple’s response has been that the patents are valid and there is no infringement. As multiple media outlets have reported, the patent case is part of series of lawsuits filed by the two companies around the world that has dragged on for nearly two years. Apple believes Qualcomm engaged in illegal patent practices to protect a dominant position in the chip market, and Qualcomm has accused Apple of using its technology without compensation. The legal conflict will climax in April, when Apple’s antitrust case, originally filed in 2017 and which challenges the foundation of Qualcomm’s business model, heads to trial. Since that original filing in 2017, Qualcomm has hit back with a series of patent actions, which industry analysts have suggested are timed to conclude before the antitrust trial begins, as a way of amassing smaller wins against Apple. So far, Apple has been tagged with a finding of infringement by U.S. trade regulators that has resulted in partial iPhone sales bans in China and Germany. Media reports also indicate that Apple made changes and resumed shipping phones in Germany, but the Chinese ban has yet to be enforced.
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