Qualcomm and Apple have been duking it out in courts around the globe with respect to patents and licensing agreements. Today, however, Qualcomm was the big winner as a U.S. jury handed the chip company a $31 million judgement in its favor.
The jury in the U.S. District Court for the South District of California found that a number of iPhone models – the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X – infringed in varying degrees on three Qualcomm patents. The patents in question were:
- U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949: Allows a smartphone to quickly reestablish an internet connection once power on
- U.S. Patent No. 9,535,490: Relates to efficient traffic management between an app and a cellular modem
- U.S. Patent No. 8,633,936: Covers high-performance graphics processing while preserving battery life
While this represents a technical victory for Qualcomm, the amount of legal fees that both companies have spent in their courtroom tussles has likely far exceeded the $31 million figure. In addition, that $31 million is mere pocket change for Apple, which booked in excess of $265 billion in sales during its fiscal 2018.
For its part, Apple previously claimed that this lawsuit was brought forward by Qualcomm as a retaliatory move based on its decision to select Intel as secondary LTE modem supplier starting with the iPhone 7. In 2018, Apple exclusively went with Intel LTE modems for its iPad Pro and iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR launches.
“Today’s unanimous jury verdict is the latest victory in our worldwide patent litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them,” said Qualcomm General counsel Don Rosenberg. “The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly.”
This legal victory for Qualcomm is just the warmup from another showdown that will take place in the U.S. next month (April 15th). That case, which is going to trial in Qualcomm’s backyard of San Diego, will have a judge deciding it Apple must hand over royalty payments to Qualcomm for its iPhones. There will be billions of dollars at stake in this case.