Apple Inc. reportedly is preparing for a court battle with Qualcomm Inc. over their $7 billion patent royalties dispute, despite the chipmaker’s chief executive saying in April that he was anticipating a settlement by year’s end.
A source told Reuters today that there is “absolutely no meaningful discussion” between the companies about a settlement. This may suggest there was a recent change in position on the part of either or both firms, since Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said as recently as July that the chipmaker was holding talks with Apple. Reuters quoted its source as saying that Apple is “gearing up for trial.”
The key issue at stake is the way Qualcomm licenses its mobile modem technology, which is used in most Android smartphones and, until this year, iPhones as well. Apple sued the chipmaker in early 2017 for allegedly overcharging for access to intellectual property, a complaint that has spawned an estimated 100 court cases around the world.
Apple and Qualcomm are no longer the only parties involved. The chipmaker has also come under legal fire from other mobile device makers, as well as regulatory bodies in multiple countries. Curiously, the report that the iPhone maker is gearing up for a court battle comes just a day after the chipmaker suffered a major setback on this front.
A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary ruling ordering Qualcomm to license some mobile modem patents to rival chip makers such as Intel Corp. The decision came in connection with a lawsuit that was filed against the company by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last year shortly after Apple filed its initial complaint.
Qualcomm has been holding talks with the agency about a potential settlement, discussions that could potentially be impacted by the new ruling. Both the FTC and Apple lawsuits are currently slated to go on trial next year.
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