Qualcomm Inc. has successfully dodged a potentially crippling ruling on patent exhaustion in its San Diego antitrust dispute with Apple Inc.

Patent exhaustion is a doctrine recently revitalized by the U.S. Supreme Court which holds that the right to sue for patent infringement is exhausted on the sale of a patented product. Exhaustion is a cornerstone of Apple’s and its contract manufacturers’ accusation that Qualcomm “double dips” by both selling mobile phone chips and licensing the technology embodied in them.

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