Qualcomm has won an important legal battle against Apple: The Cupertino consumer electronics giant was found to have violated three Qualcomm patents and they were required to pay the first $31 million in damages. Apple stole Qualcomm-patented technologies for use in iPhones and other mobile devices and did so without any legal binds nor without any sort of compensation given to the inventor of those technologies.
A former Apple engineer who suppose to testify that it was he who invented a key idea for one of Qualcomm's patented technologies changed course during the trial and suddenly refused to take the stand after it became clear that there was no evidence to support his claim.
"The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly," Qualcomm general counsel Don Rosenberg said in a 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."
Apple wasn't quite as pleased with the verdict of the case.
"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," an Apple statement notes.
Aside from the specifics of the outcome and the $31 million first payment that Apple must make, this case does, in fact, represent a major turning point in the two companies' legal battles because it puts a per-device dollar figure on Qualcomm's intellectual property: The three patented components represent about $1.41 per device, which Qualcomm says debunks Apple's claim that the licensing fees of Qualcomm are too high.
"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," Mr. Rosenberg added.
Apple and Qualcomm have other court cases to come, including a trial that is scheduled for April. That case involves Apple's dispute over Qualcomm's licensing costs.