According to the news report by Bloomberg, Qualcomm Inc. has launched multiple legal attacks against Apple Inc., with the aim of using its patents to win an import-ban against Apple iPhones.
In two separate rulings on Tuesday, March 26, Qualcomm scored one hit, but missed another.
In the first case, US International Trade Commission Judge MaryJoan McNamara gave a ruling in favor of Qualcomm, stating that Apple had infringed on another of the chip maker’s patent, and had stated that some of the older iPhones that had used that technology were to be banned.
Judge McNamara stated that she would recommend that an import ban be placed on older models of the iPhone which had been made in China. However, the judge also stated that she did not find any case of infringement in two other patents that had been a part of this case.
Later in the day, another ITC ruling by the judge stated that Qualcomm’s claim that Apple had infringed on a battery-saving patent was invalid. The Commission will release its final decision on this case later this year in July.
These two cases are just a small part of the 80 cases the two companies have been fighting for the last two years. Qualcomm is hopeful that a victory, especially if it is an import ban, may give the chip maker more leverage in its technology licensing negotiations with other companies.
Qualcomm claims that it is owed billions in royalties on Apple’s iPhone that have been unpaid as the two companies battle over how much these patents are worth.
Apple, on its part, has denied any form of patent infringement in these two cases, and has claimed that Qualcomm is actually trying to oust its only American competitor out of the market. If the chip maker is successful, Apple argues, it will hurt the development of 5th generation mobile communications technology (5G technology).
Apple has also said that even if patent infringement is found in either of the two cases, no import bans should be imposed on its top-selling products.
After the second ruling, Apple issued a stated that the company was happy that the ITC had found that Qualcomm’s latest round of patent infringement claims were found to be false. The company stated that this was another step in ensuring that companies in the United States could fairly compete in the marketplace.
Apple also stated that Qualcomm was using these two cases to distract lawmakers from the real issue at stake – the chip maker’s monopolistic practices in the market.
Qualcomm shot back on Apple’s arguments, stating that in actuality, the opposite was true. The chip maker stated that if it were not able to enforce its patents, it would reduce the worth of its innovations and allow its competitors, especially the Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Co., the chance to gain the upper hand and steal away market share.
Qualcomm went on to state that Intel’s chips were inferior and that Apple had teamed up with Intel to incorporate its unlicensed inventions into Intel’s chips to improve their quality.
Apple, after announcing that it considered Qualcomm’s licensing fees too high, told its contractors to stop paying the chip maker its royalties until it could reach a new deal with the company. It iPhone maker also switched to Intel for its new chips on its latest smartphone models.
The chip maker’s shares went up by as much as 2.6% when the first ruling was announced. However, both companies’ stocks reflected their partial victories in late trading on Tuesday. After the second ruling was made, Apple’s stocks went up less than 1%, while Qualcomm’s stocks fell less than 1%.