USA judge: Qualcomm owes Apple $1 billion

USA judge: Qualcomm owes Apple $1 billion

"Today's unanimous jury verdict is the latest victory in the worldwide patent litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them", Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said.

Worse, a former Apple engineer who was going to testify that it was he who invented a key idea for one of Qualcomm's patented technologies reversed course during the trial and refused to take the stand after it became clear that there was no evidence to support the claim.

Qualcomm shares closed the formal trading day up 2.2 percent to $56.60. Billions of dollars are at stake in that trial, which goes to the heart of the licensing dispute between the tech giants.

"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 US federal court, and around the world", an Apple statement notes.

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The disputed patents pertain to technology for graphics processing and battery power conservation, which the San Diego-based company says improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of smartphones.

The jury found that Apple infringed upon two of these patents with its iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and the iPhone X. The latter three models were also found to infringe upon the third patent covered by the lawsuit, No. 8,633,936. "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". About 1.4 billion smartphones were sold a year ago, according to IDC.

In a statement, Apple said the company is "disappointed" in the verdict. For example, next month a trial will start up in San Diego that will deal with billions of dollars in royalties. The judge sided with Apple in this issue, ordering Qualcomm to pay the $1 billion it owed.

Apple's contract factories, which under normal circumstances would pay Qualcomm for patent royalties owed on iPhones, have already withheld the almost $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. Qualcomm is also awaiting a judge's ruling in a case that wrapped up in January where the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Qualcomm uses anti-competitive practices in how it licenses its patents.

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