Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Judge rules Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1B rebate payment

Judge rules Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1B rebate payment

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.

Apple's ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm includes accusations that the chipmaker has been charging for invalid patents and claiming the chipmaker was seeking a disproportionate amount for a single component. Qualcomm jumped as much as 3.5 percent before finishing up 2.2 percent at the close in NY trading. Billions of dollars are at stake in that trial, which goes to the heart of the licensing dispute between the tech giants.

Qualcomm past year sued Apple alleging it had violated patents related to helping mobile phones get better battery life. Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm said that "Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm".

While the damages awarded Friday aren't significant to either company, from Qualcomm's perspective, valuing just three of its more than 10,000 patents at $1.41 per phone shows the overall worth of its inventions.

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On Thursday, judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for Southern California ruled that Qualcomm owes Apple almost $1 billion in rebate payments. About 1.4 billion smartphones were sold past year, according to IDC.

In a statement, Apple said it was disappointed with the outcome.

For Qualcomm, it shows the San Diego-based company's contribution to the iPhone's success and sets up an even bigger trial against Apple over billions of dollars in patent royalties. The chipmaker has said it ended the rebates because Apple instigated antitrust investigations of Qualcomm and lied to regulators. 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. Apple wasn't so lucky in Germany, where a Munich court blocked the sales of certain older iPhones that use chips from Intel. Qualcomm is also awaiting a judge's ruling in a case that wrapped up in January where the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Qualcomm uses anti-competitive practices in how it licenses its patents.

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