Qualcomm Gets $31M in Patent Infringement Trial Win Over Apple

Wireless giant Qualcomm notched a win Friday in its ongoing multijurisdictional war with smartphone maker Apple as a federal jury in San Diego unanimously backed its patent infringement case.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) said Friday that the jury found that some versions of Apple’s iPhones—the 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X—infringed two of its patents while the three newer models also infringed a third. The patents covered Qualcomm inventions that allow smartphones to quickly link to the Internet after being booted up; speed application data to and from the Internet; and better render visuals in mobile games.

The jury awarded the semiconductor maker $31 million in damages—$1.41 per phone sold since July 6, 2017, when Qualcomm filed the case.

“The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly,” said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel, in prepared remarks. “The three patents found to be infringed in this case represent just a small fraction of Qualcomm’s valuable portfolio of tens of thousands of patents.”

The ruling follows recent decisions by patent courts in China and in Germany in Qualcomm’s favor.

After those rulings, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was barred from selling the devices that included features that infringed the patents over which Qualcomm had sued.

The companies are still battling it out in other jurisdictions around the world. Apple has sued Qualcomm over claims that the company, which pulls in significant revenue from its licensing business, overcharges for its patents.

Qualcomm also said this week that Japan’s Fair Trade Commission, after about a decade, had reversed a cease-and-desist order made in 2009 in connection with its cross-licensing program.

The antitrust order was stayed in 2010, and then reversed Thursday, according to Qualcomm. (The company said that in the interim, there have been 37 hearings about the matter.) The San Diego company settled a similar case, brought by the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, last year for $93 million, plus an agreement to invest $700 million there. The penalty replaced a previous $778 million fine the commission had imposed.

Sarah de Crescenzo is an Xconomy editor based in San Diego. You can reach her at sdecrescenzo@xconomy.com. Follow @sarahdc

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