Apple must pay $31m to Qualcomm in patent dispute

File A jury ordered that Apple pay Qualcomm for patent infringement for chips used on iPhone 7 8 and X models

Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in an ongoing legal battle regarding Qualcomm's policy of charging intellectual property licensing fees on top of the actual prices for its smartphone chips. The $31 million in damages equates to $1.41 per infringing iPhone. Qualcomm jumped as much as 3.5 percent before finishing up 2.2 percent at the close in NY trading.

The devices that have this technology are iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X. The iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X were also found to infringe Qualcomm's U.S. Patent No. 8,633,936, which relates to high performance rich visual graphics with power management. U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949 enables "flashless booting" which eliminates the cost and footprint of separate flash memory and allows a smartphone to connect to the internet quickly after being powered on for instance.

A USA federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple almost US$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. Lawsuits are the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Apple's goal was to buy mobile chips from Intel instead of depending on Qualcomm, the dominant maker of mobile phone processors and has argued that Qualcomm abuse of its dominant position was harmful to the whole industry. About 1.4 billion smartphones were sold past year, according to IDC.

Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, told Reuters in a statement, "Although the Court today did not view Apple's conduct as a breach of Apple's promises to Qualcomm in the 2013 Business Cooperation and Patent Agreement, the exposure of Apple's role in these events is a welcome development".

"Qualcomm's illegal business practices are harming Apple and the entire industry", Apple said in a statement.

While the damages awarded Friday aren't significant to either company, from Qualcomm's perspective, valuing just three of its more than 10,000 patents at $1.41 per phone shows the overall worth of its inventions.

On another front in the complex legal battle between two USA companies a federal judge in Southern California on Thursday issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple almost a billion dollars in patent royalty rebate payments the chip maker is withholding, according to United States media reports. A judge in San Jose has yet to rule on the antitrust allegations following a 10-day non-jury trial in January.

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