Friday, March 15, 2019

Reuters - U.S. judge rules Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion rebate payment

The mobile computing patent war never stops (too much money at stake).

This week Reuters reports: "A U.S. federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm Inc. owes Apple Inc. nearly $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."

As background, Qualcomm threatened to withhold mobile chips if Apple refused to pay a significant increase in the patent royalty rate. I don't think it is the smartest move to attempt to strong arm Apple with patents, but then life is about learning.

As stated in Reuters: "contract factories that built Apple’s iPhones would pay Qualcomm billions of dollars per year for the use of Qualcomm’s patented technology in iPhones, a cost that Apple would reimburse the contract factories for. Separately, Qualcomm and Apple had a cooperation agreement under which Qualcomm would pay Apple a rebate on the iPhone patent payments if Apple agreed not to attack in court or with regulators. In a lawsuit filed two years ago, Apple sued Qualcomm, alleging that the chip supplier had broken the cooperation agreement by not paying nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebates."

Apple instructed the contract factories to quit paying the royalties to Qualcomm offset the missing rebates.

"Qualcomm in turn alleged that it stopped paying the rebate payments because Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making “false and misleading” statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm over antitrust allegations. Apple responded that it was making lawful responses to regulators in an ongoing investigation."

So mobile computing patent war continues global, and expensive. For now the court has sided with Apple so maybe settlement would be smart especially as Intel moves into position with another source of mobile chips.

For details see U.S. judge rules Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion rebate payment

Copyright © 2019 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.