Apple wins one against Qualcomm

One billion dollars, that is. Meanwhile, a jury just awarded Qualcomm $31 million.

From Reuters: US judge rules Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion rebate payment

A U.S. federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments, though the decision is unlikely to result in Qualcomm writing a check to Apple because of other developments in the dispute…

The payments were part of a business cooperation agreement between the two companies amid the peculiar patent licensing practices of the consumer electronics industry.

In general, the contract factories that built Apple’s iPhones would pay Qualcomm billions of dollars per year for the use of Qualcomm’s patented technology in iPhones, a cost that Apple would reimburse the contract factories for. Separately, Qualcomm and Apple had a cooperation agreement under which Qualcomm would pay Apple a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack in court or with regulators.

In a lawsuit filed two years ago, Apple sued Qualcomm, alleging that the chip supplier had broken the cooperation agreement by not paying nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebates.

Qualcomm in turn alleged that it stopped paying the rebate payments because Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making “false and misleading” statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm over antitrust allegations.

Judge Curiel sided with Apple, ruling that Qualcomm owed the missed rebate payments.

My take: If only this were the end of it.

UPDATE: PRNewswire — Qualcomm Incorporated today announced that a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California has found that Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X infringe two Qualcomm patents, U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949, and U.S. Patent No. 9,535,490, and Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X infringe Qualcomm’s U.S. Patent No. 8,633,936. The jury awarded Qualcomm $31 million in damages for infringement of the patents from July 6, 2017, the date the lawsuit was filed, through the end of the trial. The three infringed patents cover technologies invented by Qualcomm in San Diego.


  1. George Ewonus said:
    Thanks so much, PED. You seem to be the only one to have picked up on this. On the other hand MarketWatch’s current headline reads “Qualcomm defeats Apple in patent trial, stock gains”. In your story Apple gains 1 billion. In the MarketWatch story Apple owes Qualcomm 31 million. Odd that MarketWatch has noticed the Reuters story – or yours!?

    March 15, 2019
  2. George Ewonus said:
    Should be “hasn’t noticed” in last sentence!

    March 15, 2019
  3. Alan Birnbaum said:
    A good source is Fosspatents

    March 15, 2019

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