U.S. ITC Judge Says Apple Infringed on Qualcomm Patent, Import Ban Recommended [Updated]

A U.S. International Trade Commission judge today ruled that Apple has infringed on a Qualcomm patent with its iPhones, and has recommended that a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order be issued against Apple.

According to the ruling, Apple violated claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 8,063,674, "multiple supply-voltage power-up/down detectors." Apple did not violate two other patents that were involved in the case, with the infringement limited to the '674 patent.

qualcomm iphone 7
The judge has recommended an import ban on infringing iPhones, which would prevent them from being sold in the United States.

As CNET points out, this is not a final ruling, and will need to be approved by a panel of judges before it moves on to presidential review.

This is one of two patent infringement rulings expected from the ITC in the ongoing Qualcomm vs. Apple legal battle. Back in September, an initial ruling in a second case also found that Apple infringed on a Qualcomm patent related to power management technology.

The judge in that case recommended against an import ban because of "public interest factors."

Qualcomm wants the ITC to ban imports of AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7, ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ 8, ‌iPhone‌ 8 Plus, and ‌iPhone‌ X models that use chips from Intel.

Qualcomm and Apple have been fighting in courts all over the world, and Qualcomm has successfully won import bans in China and Germany, which Apple has since skirted with software and hardware updates.

In the U.S., a jury recently found Apple guilty of infringing on three of Qualcomm's patents, recommending a fine of approximately $31 million in damages. Apple is appealing that ruling and the fight between the two companies is far from over.

Update: In a second patent infringement case that the ITC ruled on today [PDF], Apple was found not to have infringed on patented Qualcomm technology related to power management. This second ruling does not impact the first infringement ruling covered in the initial article.

Update 2: Apple provided Bloomberg with the following statement on the second ITC verdict: "We're pleased the ITC has found Qualcomm's latest patent claims invalid, it's another important step to making sure American companies are able to compete fairly in the marketplace. Qualcomm is using these cases to distract from having to answer for the real issues, their monopolistic business practices. They are being investigated by governments around the world for their behavior and we look forward to detailing the many ways they're harming consumers and stifling innovation when we present our case in San Diego next month."

Top Rated Comments

JPack Avatar
44 months ago
"The ITC is expected to issue a final decision later on Tuesday in a similar case brought by Qualcomm in which the chip maker is also seeking a U.S. ban on sales of some iPhones."

This is more exciting than the keynote event yesterday.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bladerunner2000 Avatar
44 months ago
Apple doesn't seem to do well in court cases. They need better lawyers. Settle under sealed terms rather than these public embarrassments.
They need better lawyers to get away with breaking laws and regulations?

OK.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
genovelle Avatar
44 months ago
Maybe an iPhone ban will fuel actual innovation.
I'm game.
Qualcomm is only asking to go extinct.
Their aggressive actions awoke the beast. Innovation means Apple is now
Interested in making and designing their own modems. The result is not something Qualcomm wants. Especially as there is a transition to 5G in progress.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjohnstone Avatar
44 months ago
I don't understand how you can patent a standard, hold a monopoly over it and then preemptively sue people before when they aren't using your product.
The patent in question is not part of any standard.
It is a proprietary function of Qualcomm's power management tech.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Analog Kid Avatar
44 months ago
I would also love for these stories to include at least one sample claim from the asserted patents. In this instance, they should include the infringed claim. I think that would preempt a lot of the silly presumptions about what these patents cover.
What is claimed is:

1. A multiple Supply Voltage device comprising:

a core network operative at a first Supply Voltage; and

a control network coupled to said core network wherein said control network is configured to transmit a control signal, said control network comprising: an up/down (up/down) detector configured to detect a power state of said core network; processing circuitry coupled to said up/down detector and configured to generate said con trol signal based on said power state;

one or more feedback circuits coupled to said up/down detector, said one or more feedback circuits configured to provide feedback signals to adjust a current capacity of said up/down detector;

at least one first transistor coupled to a second Supply Voltage, the at least one more first transistor being con figured to Switch on when said first Supply Voltage is powered down and to switch off when said first supply Voltage is powered on;

at least one second transistor coupled in series with the at least one first transistor and coupled to said first Supply Voltage, the at least one second transistor being configured to Switch on when said first Supply Voltage is powered on and to switch off when said first supply voltage is powered down;

at least one third transistor coupled in series between the at least one first transistor and the at least one second transistor.


It's covering a way to reduce leakage power during the brief period when a core power supply turns off while the I/O remains powered. Presumably this makes it more efficient to turn power on and off more granularly.

Visually, they added M8 and its gate signal:

to what had been the prior art:

M5 looks like an implementation detail and mirrors the role of M6 in presumably reducing leakage in the off state. The "signal processor" is described as an inverting amp, so nothing more than the inverting signal amp shown in the prior art.

Alternatively the feedback path can support the power on detection:



Or both. But Apple will have violated the claim if they add the single M8 transistor.

So, to everyone screaming "Innovation!", this is what innovation looks like: one transistor added in parallel with another. Humanity advances in baby steps, people...

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
apolloa Avatar
44 months ago
Oh dear, seems their plan is backfiring on them. Serves Apple right in this instance IMO, it’s what you get for deciding to change the terms of your payment without consultation after several years.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
ios 16 battery indicator 2

Everything New in iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage in Status Bar, Find My Changes and More

Monday August 8, 2022 12:53 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the fifth beta of iOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, introducing some small but notable changes to the iOS operating system. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've rounded up everything new in the fifth beta below. Battery Percentage in Status Bar The battery icon in the status bar now displays the exact battery percent, a feature that ...
iphone 14 pro max camera bump compared lipilipsi 16 9

Bigger iPhone 14 Pro Max Camera Bump Shown Alongside iPhone 13 Pro Max

Monday August 8, 2022 4:33 am PDT by
The camera bump on the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to be the largest rear lens housing Apple has ever installed on its flagship smartphones, and a new photo offers a rare glimpse at just how prominent it is compared to Apple's predecessor device. iPhone 14 Pro Max dummy (left) vs iPhone 13 Pro Max All iPhone 14 models are expected to see upgrades to the Ultra Wide camera on the...
cook sept 2020 event

Gurman: Apple Preparing Pre-Recorded iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 Event

Sunday August 7, 2022 6:13 am PDT by
Apple has "started to record" its virtual September event, where it's expected to announce the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 8, and a new "rugged" Apple Watch model, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman says the event, which is expected to take place in the early part of September, is already under production, implying...
airpods pro black background

Beyond iPhone 14: Five Apple Products Expected to Launch Later This Year

Monday August 8, 2022 9:43 am PDT by
While the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 are expected to be announced in September as usual, there are several more Apple products rumored to launch later this year, including new iPad and Mac models and more. Beyond the iPhone and Apple Watch, we've put together a list of five Apple products that are most likely to be unveiled by the end of 2022. Second-Generation AirPods Pro Apple...