Judge awards Apple $1 billion in latest dispute with Qualcomm

Qualcomm scored a $31 million victory over Apple Friday for patent infringement

Worse, a former Apple engineer who was going to testify that it was he who invented a key idea for one of Qualcomm's patented technologies reversed course during the trial and refused to take the stand after it became clear that there was no evidence to support the claim. Qualcomm jumped as much as 3.5 percent before finishing up 2.2 percent at the close in NY trading.

A US federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm Inc owes Apple Inc almost $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 stakes in that case are higher: the dollar amounts are staggering, and it goes to the core of Qualcomm's business model".

The patent infringement covers the iPhone 7, 8 and X models.

A third patent related to promoting rich graphics in games while protecting battery life, according 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. Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement to Reuters: "Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm". About 1.4 billion smartphones were sold a year ago, according to IDC.

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San Diego-based Qualcomm hailed the verdict as a validation of its technology's importance to iPhones.

Qualcomm also suffered a setback with USA trade regulators who found that some iPhones infringed one of the San Diego-based company's patents but declined to bar their importation into the United States, citing the damage such a move would inflict on rival Intel Corp. The judge sided with Apple in this issue, ordering Qualcomm to pay the $1 billion it owed. Apple wasn't so lucky in Germany, where a Munich court blocked the sales of certain older iPhones that use chips from Intel.

"Next month's case on licensing [between Apple and Qualcomm] will affect billions of dollars in fees that Apple and most phone vendors pay Qualcomm", Greengart said.

In yet another dispute, the Federal Trade Commission accused Qualcomm of monopolist business practices, the initial volley in a web of litigation that now spans 3 continents. The trial concluded in San Jose, California, earlier this year, but the judge still hasn't ruled.

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