Apple Deals Legal Blow; Qualcomm Gets $31 million



Apple violated three Qualcomm patents and should pay the chipmaker $31 million dollars for infringing on its technology. When it comes Apple versus Qualcomm, the result is not going to be a pretty scene for Apple users as the latter has supplied the former with chips for at least half a decade.

But they’re now battling in courts over licensing and patents and it may put your iPhone at risk. Qualcomm is the world’s biggest mobile chip provider. It has also created technology that is essential for the easy connectivity of mobiles to cellular networks. The company earns revenue by licensing these technologies to mobile phone makers. And that includes Apple.

The Cupertino, California giant makes its own processors but relies heavily on the chips for connectivity.

Qualcomm sues Apple

In July 2017, Qualcomm sues Apple over the charges that the latter has used some of the former’s technology in its latest mobile phones without their permission. The jury awarded Qualcomm the full amount before the start of the two-week trial in San Diego.

Patents Disregarded

One disputed patent covers technology that allows the phone to be easily connected to the internet once the phone’s turned on. The second one deals with graphics processing and battery life. And the third one deals with shifting traffic between a phone’s app processor and modem.

The $31 million dollars is quite a fall for a company which briefly became a $1 trillion dollar company in 2018. But Qualcomm’s win also reflects on the fact how its innovations are widely incorporated in the iPhones. The verdict set a stage for their final showdown next month in San Diego.

It all started…

Two years ago, when The Federal Trade Commission with help from Apple and Intel accused Qualcomm of monopolizing modem chips. Furthermore, they have said that Qualcomm’s royalty rates has driven up phone prices and has stopped competitors from entering the market.

Apple was invariably “disappointed” with the verdict.

The key witness twist

Apple argued that one of their then-engineers, Arjun Siva, was a key contributor to the project as well and should be named on the patent as well. Apple states that Qualcomm stole the idea when the two companies were brainstorming ideas on how to incorporate their chips into their mobile phones. Here is the twist, Siva, who now works for Google, backed out of testifying.

The jury struck down its request of naming Arjun Siva on the patent.

According to the Cupertino, California giant, the real motive behind this lawsuit is a retaliation against the company for introducing Intel as their second chip supplier in 2016. Qualcomm seems to be upset about this decision as they have had an exclusive relationship since 2011.

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