Qualcomm Launches Patent Challenge to Apple Ahead of Antitrust Case

Qualcomm, the world’s biggest maker of mobile chips, alleges in federal court in San Diego that Apple breached three of its rivals, also is requesting thousands of dollars or more in compensation.

The patent case is part of a two-year chain of lawsuits around the world involving the companies. Apple has alleged that Qualcomm participated in illegal patent clinics to protect a dominant position in the chip market, and Qualcomm has accused Apple of using its technology without compensation.

The legal saga will reach a crescendo in April, as soon as an antitrust case filed by Apple in early 2017 heads to trial and challenges the base of Qualcomm’s business model.

Since then, Qualcomm has filed a series of patent actions timed to conclude prior to the antitrust trial and stand up smaller victories from Apple. So far, Qualcomm has won a preliminary finding of breach by US trade regulators and partial iPhone sales prohibits in China and Germany, although the Chinese ban has not yet been enforced and Apple has declared shipping telephones in Germany after making modifications.

US District Judge Dana Sabraw will open an eight-day trial on Monday to ascertain whether Apple violated Qualcomm patents about helping telephones turn on more quickly and help you save battery life during tasks like playing video games. Qualcomm alleges that phones with Intel modem processors, which connect telephones to wireless data networks, violated the patents.

Apple has responded in court papers that it does not believe the patents are valid and it doesn’t infringe them. Apple has been proven to infringe one of the patents in the lawsuit during an unrelated case before the US International Trade Commission, but that choice is not final and doesn’t bind the court in San Diego. Apple also told commerce regulators it considered it had a software solution to avoid the patent.

Qualcomm is asking for up to $1.41 in damages per infringing iPhone marketed between mid-2017 and the autumn of 2018. The precise amount of iPhones at stake hasn’t yet been revealed because Apple hasn’t said how many of its phones comprise Intel chips. Analysts believe that half of iPhones throughout that period comprised Intel chips.

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