Apple Challenges Four Qualcomm Patents in Ongoing Legal Battle

Apple today filed petitions with the United States Patent and Trademark Office challenging the validity of four Qualcomm patents amid an increasingly vicious legal battle, reports Bloomberg. Apple is aiming to get the USPTO to cancel the four Qualcomm patents, arguing that they do not cover new ideas.

The patents in question cover camera autofocusing, a device that functions as a phone and a digital assistant, touch-sensitive displays, and circuit memory.

qualcomm iphone 7
Challenging patent validity is one of Apple's typical strategies in its legal battles. According to Bloomberg, Apple has filed a total of 398 such petitions with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

For the Qualcomm filing, a trio of judges will consider the petition along with responses from Qualcomm, and will issue a preliminary decision on whether Apple's argument has merit. If Apple has a chance of getting the patents declared invalid, the USPTO will conduct a formal review before issuing a final judgement on the matter.

Apple and Qualcomm have been embroiled in a legal battle since the beginning of 2017, with the dispute centered on how much Apple should have to pay Qualcomm in royalties. Apple claims Qualcomm has been charging unfair royalties for "technologies [it] has nothing to do with," while Qualcomm claims its technology "is at the heart of every iPhone." Apple has used Qualcomm LTE chips in its devices for years, but has been moving away from Qualcomm's technology due to the legal fight.

Both Apple and Qualcomm have filed multiple lawsuits against one another, with Qualcomm also seeking import and export bans on some iPhones in the United States and China.

Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue and Apple CEO Tim Cook will testify on June 27 as part of Qualcomm's initial lawsuit against Apple, which accuses the Cupertino company of lying to regulators to cause trouble for Qualcomm in multiple countries.

Last week, the United States International Trade Commission began investigating whether Apple infringed on three Qualcomm patents related to power management, radio voltage, and graphics processing. A pre-trial report from the ITC's lawyers suggested Apple infringed on the power management patent, but not the other two patents. A ruling on the ITC case, which has the potential to lead to an iPhone import ban, is expected in September.

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Top Rated Comments

Doctor Q Avatar
79 months ago
Suppose Apple is working on a new product feature, and they find that a relevant patents exist.

They could (a) pay for a license, (b) challenge the patent's validity, (c) ignore the patent, then pay for a license if the patent holder files for infringement, or (d) ignore the patent, then fight it in court if the patent holder files for infringement.

Which do they tend to do? What does it depend on?

We hear about these cases when they reach court, but I'm curious what happens before that.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Naraxus Avatar
79 months ago
Apple has a whole lot of nerve
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macbeta Avatar
79 months ago
This is what happens when endless amounts of things that should never have been allowed to be patented, get filed away. They will settle, I wish they wouldn't though, more battles need to actually go to court so sort out some of these weak and frankly stupid patents.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
79 months ago
Is this...
If they know about the patent and that they infringe and ignore it, they could have to pay triple damages.
the reason for this?...
Engineers don’t go checking to see if everything they are doing is patented.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shplock Avatar
79 months ago
And here’s the German courts rejecting some of Apples cases too:

http://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSTRE8210JN20120302 ('https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSTRE8210JN20120302')

Apple was even forced by the courts in the U.K. to print a public apology in the press for the way it behaved over its obsession with Samsung, which Apple took as a joke at first to which the courts did not and told Apple to do it again or find themselves in contempt of court or something to that effect:

http://globalnews.ca/news/304304/uk-judges-tell-apple-to-apologize-to-samsung-again-after-original-apology-falls-short/ ('https://globalnews.ca/news/304304/uk-judges-tell-apple-to-apologize-to-samsung-again-after-original-apology-falls-short/')

That’s how peed off the worlds court got with them, but mainly Apple as it tried to ban Samsung from the planet, for no other reason then blocking the competition.
Firstly you do then admit that you were wrong? You said that it was only the US where Scamsung, sorry I mean Samdung..I mean Samsung were being sued.
They were sued in many many countries. So your point about Apple being turned down in some countries means nothing.
next Apple were not trying to ban the competition because there is NO competition. Apple makes over 90% of worldwide smartphone profits. This with Samsung selling phones in many countries.
Also it was proven, pROVEN that Samsung DID copy the iPhone in many ways.
Samsung's own lawyer got confused and mistook the iPhone for a Samsung phone!
PLus internal Samsung documents were shown that were entitled how best to copy the iPhone.

Does this make Apple innocent in all things? Nope of course not but please do not bring your Apple hatred to a topic where Samsung are clearly wrong and clearly guilty! (regarding your point). Plus in relation to Qualcomm we do not know the outcome of the case yet so we will see.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmaier Avatar
79 months ago
Is this...

the reason for this?...
Yes. There is seldom any benefit to looking ahead of time to see if there are patents. Even if you think there are none that are relevant, someone sill sue you anyway. And now you have knowledge of the patent. Unless you get a formal legal opinion for each potentially relevant patent. Then you might be able to rely on good faith. But opinions are very expensive and there could be many potentially relevant patents.
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Most patent cases are filed with the 5th circuit court.... I wonder if that's where they are trying this case....
I think you mean EDTex (which is part of the fifth circuit). But it’s not true that most cases are filed there. Just most troll cases, and the number has fallen a lot due to recent Supreme Court decisions.

I believe most of the Qualcomm Apple dispute is being tried in California, which is ninth circuit.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)