A San Diego jury liked a Qualcomm patent infringement case against Apple more than an International Trade Commission judge did.
Jurors awarded Qualcomm $31 million Friday following a 10-day trial, finding that recent versions of the iPhone infringe all five asserted claims from three Qualcomm patents on smartphone technology. Although the stakes will be much higher at the companies’ antitrust trial next month over standard-essential patents, Friday’s verdict shows that Qualcomm can mount a persuasive case that Apple is infringing non-essential patents.
“The three patents found to be infringed in this case represent just a small fraction of Qualcomm’s valuable portfolio of tens of thousands of patents,” Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a written statement. “We are gratified that courts all over the world are rejecting Apple’s strategy of refusing to pay for the use of our IP.”
The three patents relate to technology that conserves battery power and memory, and helps smartphone apps retrieve data from the internet more quickly. Qualcomm had sought damages from the date the suit was filed in 2017 through the end of the trial.
Qualcomm is asserting two of the same patents at the International Trade Commission. ITC Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender last fall found Apple does not infringe the 8,633,936 patent. He found the asserted claim of the 9,535,490 patent valid and infringed, but recommended that Qualcomm’s bid to exclude imports of infringing iPhones be ruled against the public interest. The full commission is reviewing Pender’s findings and recommendations.
“While we are disappointed with the outcome, we thank the jury for their service in this case,” Apple said through a spokeswoman. “Qualcomm’s ongoing campaign of patent infringement claims is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the larger issues they face with investigations into their business practices in U.S. federal court, and around the world.”
Qualcomm’s trial team included Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partners David Nelson, Sean Pak, Michelle Clark, Valerie Lozano, Scott Watson and Nathan Hamstra. Apple was represented by Fish & Richardson and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
In other Qualcomm news, the company announced Wednesday that the Japan Fair Trade Commission has reversed a 2009 cease-and-desist order, and concluded that Qualcomm’s cross-licensing provisions and non-assertion covenants with manufacturers did not violate Japanese anti-monopoly law. The company filed the 132-page decision, all of it in Japanese, with U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California, who is weighing U.S. Federal Trade Commission antitrust charges against Qualcomm.