German Courts Toss Four Qualcomm Patent Suits Against Apple
Apple and Qualcomm are battling in courts around the world with the heaviest fighting going on in Germany right now. Qualcomm was able to win an iPhone sales ban that forced Apple to pull the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 from German stores. Apple has now won a victory in Germany with courts throwing four of the eight patent lawsuits Qualcomm had brought against it.
Germany's Munich Regional court has ruled that the Apple Spotlight search function used in the iPhone and Siri voice assistant didn't infringe on a pair of Qualcomm patents. The patents in question were European patents 1,955,529 and 1,956,806; multiple Qualcomm attempts to assert those patents against Apple were tossed from the court as well. Those two patents are for "method and apparatus for communication channel selection" and were acquired by Qualcomm in 2000 when it purchased a company called SnapTrack for $1 billion.
Another patent case was dismissed after the court found that the iPhone wasn't infringing on a patent that Qualcomm owns that has to do with a standby screen feature. The court said in that instance that since Apple users were required to open an app before being allowed to interact with the app when the iPhone was in standby mode, Apple wasn't infringing on the patent.
Apple and Qualcomm continue to fight in court with Apple alleging that Qualcomm is using its patent portfolio to force smartphone makers to pay licensing fees that are too high. The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. seems to fall on Apple's side and has blamed Qualcomm in part for the high cost of smartphones today. That FTC suit has accused Qualcomm of antitrust violations. Qualcomm's royalty charges can total as much as $20 per handset sold.