A San Diego jury found that Apple Inc. infringed on three of Qualcomm Inc.’s patents.
Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) had accused Apple (NYSE: AAPL) of violating three of its patents related to power-saving technology in the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Apple had previously used Qualcomm as the sole provider of modems for its iPhone, until 2016, when it began including Intel’s modems in the iPhone 7.
With the March 15 ruling, Apple must pay Qualcomm more than $31 million in damages; roughly $1.40 per infringing iPhone.
The two-week trial began on March 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Apple tried to question the validity of Qualcomm’s patents, arguing that one of its former engineers, Arjuna Siva, should be named on the patent. Qualcomm, for its part, stuck to the value of its patents.
“Today’s unanimous jury verdict is the latest victory in our worldwide patent litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them,” Qualcomm General Counsel Don Rosenberg said in a news release. “The technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly. 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. We are gratified that courts all over the world are rejecting Apple’s strategy of refusing to pay for the use of our IP.”
Qualcomm has also brought patent cases against Apple before China, Germany, and the U.S. International Trade Commission. It has seen some victories, but with mixed results. For example, in December, China found that Apple had violated Qualcomm’s patents, and agreed to ban the sale of older iPhone models, but Apple sidestepped the decision with a software update.
Qualcomm has another important court case later this month. In September, Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender ruled that Apple had violated one of Qualcomm’s patents, but did not grant Qualcomm an import ban on the offending iPhones due to public interest. The full ITC Commission is expected to review the case by March 26.