Judge rules against Qualcomm twice in its patent battles against Apple

Judge rules against Qualcomm twice in its patent battles against Apple
Judge Gonzolo P. Curiel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, today rejected Qualcomm's request for a preliminary injunction. Qualcomm was hoping that the court would force manufacturers of the Apple iPhone and Apple iPad to pay the chip maker royalties for the use of certain Qualcomm patents. These standard essential patents are supposed to be licensed using fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND). Contract manufacturers like Compal Electronics Inc., Foxconn Technology Group, Pegatron Corp. and Wistron Corp. have stopped paying Qualcomm royalties at Apple's request, with Apple complaining that Qualcomm failed to use FRAND to determine its royalties structure.

The legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm also deals with royalty rebate payments that Qualcomm was supposed to make to Apple. The former stopped cutting these checks in September 2016, which obviously raised Apple's ire. Apple has sued Qualcomm over the royalties the chip maker is asking for, citing violation of anti-trust laws, U.S. patent law, and Qualcomm's failure to ask for reasonable royalties for its standard essential patents.

Besides ruling today against Qualcomm's request for a preliminary injunction, Judge Curiel also ruled against Qualcomm's request for a preliminary injunction that would have blocked Apple from suing Qualcomm over the same issues, but in different jurisdictions. Since the court will eventually rule on what a fair royalty payment should be for Qualcomm's standard essential patents, the company was hoping to keep the legal issues local (in other words, near Qualcomm's San Diego headquarters).

Starting last year, Apple also cut back on its use of Qualcomm's modem chip for the iPhone by also purchasing the part from Intel. Having at least two sources for major components is something that Apple always seeks. This way, if one source cannot deliver the goods, Apple can count on the second one to make up the difference. Also, by having two sources for a major part, Apple can play one against the other in an attempt to obtain favorable pricing.

source: AppleInsider

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34 Comments

1. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I said this would happen in what, March? Crazy how time flies...

2. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Apple must find a way to insert Gigabit LTE modems at least in their next gen iPhones. Consumers don't care about these bs legal battles anymore.

10. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Intel could help them.. But it's fine if they keep using LTE-A for the next 2 years, and then jump to 5G

15. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The thing is Intel's current LTE modems in the iPhone 8 are still cat 9 LTE. Which is the same as the iPhone 7.

27. mikehunta727 unregistered

Where you find this out? I been looking for a teardown of the device to see this

28. mikehunta727 unregistered

IFixit teardown of their iPhone 8 revealed a Qualcomm x16 LTE modem They might be using a newer generation Intel modem,

29. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Well isn't that funny, other sites have said it is only supporting up to 500 Mbps. Then ifixit shows the iPhone's internals today. So it's using Qualcomms gigabit modem, which also has the latest WiFi and Bluetooth 5 included on board. Yet Apple was telling everyone they were going with Intel and dropping Qualcomm. But in the new iPhone is using Qualcomms modems again. Isn't that funny. But it's probably like last year, where they will use some Qualcomm modems and some Intel modems. Who knows since Apple is secretive, and doesn't like to talk about specs. But since it has Bluetooth 5. Then it would have to have a Qualcomm modems for sure then in every new iPhone. At the end of the day Apple will have to pay for sure. Its just how much.

33. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If you listen to sgodsell, you'll find out that iPhones have dial-up ;).

18. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Intel should rise their modern pricing for Apple since they screw their only alternative source.

30. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Intel modems currently don't support Bluetooth 5. Qualcomms do. Not to mention they are fabrication is currently 10 nm. Intel's modems are not.

32. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Apple needs to put in gigabit modems because iPhone 7's 600 Mbps modem is capable of just 3 times the top speeds the carriers all over the world offer? Can you show me a Note 8 LTE speed test that reaches... not 6, but 400 Mbps on a commercial network? PS: X is having a gigabit modem.

3. Xilam unregistered

You know what? I like iOS, but this is kinda BS... I'm on Qualcomm side to this battle.. Apple signed the agreement - QUALCOMM didn't change anything or under deliver on what promised... On contrary - qualcomm modems are better than competition. If Apple didn't like that the price to pay has grown dramatically over time (based on initial agreement) - apple should have asked NICELY for a re-negotiation, but not force it thru lawsuits or start a payment boycott with other companies. I believe if you don't want to do business anymore due to ANY REASON, you have the right to stop doing business with that entity - not tell them what they should charge. Contract is a contract.. If someone changes their mind down the line and can force that change despite of contract - what is the damn point of a contract?

4. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

and u never know how much apple paid some of the judges i cant belive it realy.. thats too funny. everyone in the world cant belive the lawsuits that happens in the us. and apple sues others for rectangular shape and judges say yeah apple ur right.. im proud to live in germany and the courts arent perfect here but damn they are "down to earth". not charging millions just for u dont write in the usermanuel that u cant put a dog in the microwave.. sorry for my bad english

7. Xilam unregistered

I disagree with many of your points actually - there were obvious trade-dress copyright infringements from Samsung. Your post reeks of sensationalism, and I cant take it seriously. I believe in the power of an agreed contract. that goes for patents, regardless how stupid they may be - if apple was granted one, Samsung had to abide by it, even if they didn't agree. But Samsung infringed on a real patent - and apple had the right to sue. Its a corporate world - we may not understand it - but that's how the law is made. If Samsung or anyone else thought the trade-dress patents were awarded apple are silly - they should go after patent office... not just ignore it.. Do you agree that Xaomi was granted a trademark "just one more thing" - something apple used since before the iPhone? I don't see your types complaining about silly patents when one of Android EM's does it!

16. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Samsung infringed on a Software patent and was ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars. But what happened when Apple was found to have infringed on Samsung's hardware patents? I mean you use color red on your cars as your patent, I steal it and use it too and you sue me for billions and win the case. But when you steal the design of my engine which makes you have that car I sue you and you made to pay a few dollars.

17. Xilam unregistered

Like I said, take it up with the paten office... they're the retard that actually award this stuff... instead of telling Apple (or whoever) to not waste their time... How would you like to think you got an original idea, do the necessary leg work, and pay the costs to patent it, waste millions defending the damn patent you already got, just to get it removed 5 years later?... I'd be pissed off. I don't disagree with your points, I'm just saying that you're point the finger at the wrong organization. USPO is really messed up - don't award patents if you're not going to hold them up in the future.

26. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

This isn’t about contracts. This is about Qualcomm wielding their patents in an an anti-competitive fashion. They have already been fined in China and South Korea, and are under investigation by the EU and the FTC. They block competing chips from the US market and drive up the cost of American cellular products.

5. Nabil111

Posts: 105; Member since: Apr 14, 2014

lol, I get it. I'm on the side of Qualcomm too, seems if one signs a contract to buy or lease or produce a number of a product, and they produce that number of a product, they are obligated to pay the other party. The only reason a payment boycott works is because Apple is such a large player. If they don't like the prices, they should argue that, and negotiate better prices. Instead, they've dropped their end of the contractual agreement. Qualcomm should have taken this to East Texas and claimed some "patent infringement" bs lol

14. toukale

Posts: 631; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Spoken like someone who's never done business in the real world. No contract is bulletproof if you can show a judge good cause/bad faith on the part of the other party. Besides courts all over the world have come down hard on Qualcomm for abuse, that is not coincidence. Man, people hate Apple so much they can't see how good things would be for everyone else in the mobile world for an Apple win. Right now Qualcomm is abusing their FRAND patents, to the point where Samsung can't even use their own chips in NA devices. This would bring a lot more competition in the android arena instead of every one of those android vendors obligated to use qualcomm.

22. Xilam unregistered

If apple wins, this will be precedent for all forced contract re-negotiations... it's the principle of the matter... if this becomes the norm, it will probably hurt apple more at some point than the benefit of wining this case against QC.

6. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Omg if you look at images of that judge, I bet you still can see that he is all Apple brown on the lips from kissing Apple ass....

8. Xilam unregistered

Can we deduct from your reasoning that when Apple looses a battle, Judges are assumed to be kissing Samsungs or w/e ass?

9. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

These people are delusional. This ruling took place in South Cali, where BOTH these companies have their HQ, and yet somehow the judge is in Apple's back pocket because logic? Nonsense. The notion that either company pays judges is hogwash worthy of being laughed at.

11. Xilam unregistered

I sometimes I don’t agree with you - but on this I’m with you kiko. I think these kids get their information NOT from real world corporate economics but rather from what they see in movies with plots made strictly for entertainment.

19. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Bottom line you don't know whether QC has been unfairly treated in this case. So your guess is as good as another. Kiki is always on the side of Apple this is always very clear to me. Imagine if Apple vendors were to break their contract with Apple he would be immediately on the side that contract is the most blessed sacred agreement on Earth. How could anyone have violent one?

20. Xilam unregistered

From what I've read, Apple just started bitching about how much they're paying QC in accordance of the current agreements. I honestly do not see any wrongdoing from QC side...

31. AxelFoley unregistered

We'll have to show you where Cupertino is on a map because that would only strengthen your point. Only QC is in southern California. Since this is the same judge that couldn't be bought or intimidated by Trump even though Trump bashed his Mexican heritage, and ended up making him pay $25 million, I don't a corporation can buy him either. But at the end, these rulings are merely on injunctions and had little chance of success in the first place.

12. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Apple wants to force it's way out of a contract it signed with Qualcomm... How can a judge approve this? Qualcomm might be greedy with it's standard essential patents, but Apple still signed, so Apple has to comply with the dea it signed... Never thought someone could challenge and even force a change of the conditions of a contract after signing it! Wow!

13. toukale

Posts: 631; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Spoken like someone who's never done business in the real world. No contract is bulletproof if you can show a judge good cause/bad faith on the part of the other party. Besides courts all over the world have come down hard on Qualcomm for abuse, that is not coincidence. Man, people hate Apple so much they can't see how good things would be for everyone else in the mobile world for an Apple win. Right now Qualcomm is abusing their FRAND patents, to the point where Samsung can't even use their own chips in NA devices. This would bring a lot more competition in the android arena instead of every one of those android vendors obligated to use qualcomm.

21. Xilam unregistered

toukale, you're my favorite poster lately (most of your posts got my green thumbs), but come on, this is a contract - how can a judge do this? QUALCOMM delivers good products, no lack in quantity or quality, they're capable of keeping up with demand, not just apples, but other manufacturers. Apple tried going to intel for modems, but they're not as fast, nor can intel fill apples quantity demand - so in simple terms, apple crying to judge that it doesn't like the terms apple agreed upon initially. trojan_horse has summarized exactly the problem I'm having with Apple over this.

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