Mar 19, 2019

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Apple is no stranger to litigation and expensive, lengthy court battles. We have reported on many of Apple's disputes over the years, some of these reports can be read here and here.

On 15 March 2019 Apple suffered a loss in its long-running legal battle with Qualcomm, the technology firm known for producing modems and chips that allow owners of mobile phone devices to connect to cellular networks amongst other things.

Apple was accused by Qualcomm of infringing three patents it held over extending battery life and in 2017, a legal battle began. On Friday a jury found that Apple had infringed three of Qualcomm's patents. As a result, Qualcomm was awarded royalties of up to $1.41 per infringing phone, constituting of $0.55, $0.42 and $0.44 for each patent infringed.

Qualcomm commented after the hearing that it was its technology that meant Apple was able to enter the market and become so successful and so it was pleased with the Court's finding.

The two companies have had a difficult relationship for some time now. In early 2017, the two companies were embroiled in another dispute in relation to royalty payments. When Apple creates a device it pays Qualcomm a royalty for use of its intellectual property. Apple has previously used its dominant market position and business prowess to negotiate discounts with Qualcomm in exchange for a promise that it would not challenge Qualcomm's patents. This agreement broke down after Qualcomm raised its royalty rate. Apple soon after sued Qualcomm for damages and for reduced price royalties based on the price of the modem component that it used, rather than the price of the Apple device.  Qualcomm counterclaimed, alleging it was being paid less than a fair value for its IP.

In a preliminary ruling earlier this month, it was ordered that Qualcomm owes Apple $1billion in rebate payments. While this latest ruling may put the relationship back on something of an even keel, it will certainly not be the end of the litigation between the tech giants.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or

in: Digital/Tech, Legal News, News

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