A US International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender found that Apple infringed one of three Qualcomm patents related to power management but declined to recommend the import ban sought by Qualcomm. The chipmakers said that the judgment “makes no sense.” Qualcomm was seeking an import ban of Apple’s iPhones that have chips made by Intel Corp. This is the first of two cases brought by chipmaker before the trade agency in Washington.
“We are pleased the ALJ [administrative law judg] found infringement of our patented technology, but it makes no sense to then allow infringement to continue by denying an import ban,” Qualcomm General Counsel Donald Rosenberg stated after the order, adding that it goes against the ITC mandate to protect American innovators by blocking the import of infringing products.
The judge’s findings are subject to review by the full commission, which has the final say. If the commission goes along, it would eliminate a powerful bargaining chip Qualcomm could use to push Apple into agreeing to pay license fees, reported Bloomberg.
Apple denies stealing technology
Throughout the case, Apple Inc has argued that Qualcomm was unfairly demanding royalties for technologies they have nothing to do. It accused the chipmaker of fighting to protect its monopoly.
The case goes back to 2017 when Qualcomm filed patent litigation against Apple for infringing its technology. On Tuesday, the chipmaker revised its lawsuit by accusing Apple Inc of stealing its chip-making secrets and giving them to rival Intel Corp.
According to reports, this may have paved the way for Apple to switch to Intel’s improved semiconductors, which may have cost Qualcomm billions of dollars in lost sales.
According to court filing, Qualcomm accused Apple of misusing secret Qualcomm software to share information about its chips with Intel engineers in a November lawsuit, but went further on Tuesday by saying Apple stole Qualcomm trade secrets as part of a “multi-year campaign of sloppy, inappropriate and deceitful conduct” designed to improve rivals’ chipsets and ultimately divert Qualcomm’s Apple-based business to Intel.
Both Intel and Apple have denied the allegations. “Qualcomm has continued to unfairly demand royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with to protect their monopoly,” Apple said in a statement. “We’re glad the ITC stopped Qualcomm’s attempt to damage competition and ultimately harm innovators and US consumers.”
Intel fires back: Qualcomm running unlawful “no license, no chips” regime
On the other hand, Steven R. Rodgers, executive vice president and general counsel of Intel Corporation fires back by stating that Qualcomm patent litigation was a part of its efforts to eliminate competition and preserve its unlawful “no license, no chips” regime.
“Qualcomm has had a lot to say publicly about its litigation campaign – and about Intel. It has publicly disparaged Intel’s products – products created by the innovation and hard work of dedicated teams of scientists and engineers at Intel. It is easy to say things. But Intel’s track record is clear,” said Rodgers.