Qualcomm has today kicked off a patent challenge to Apple in a federal court in San Diego, asking for tens of millions of dollars or more in damages while alleging that the iPhone maker violated three of its patents (via Bloomberg). The patent case is part of a two-year series of lawsuits around the world between the companies.
With over 130,000 patents and patent applications, Qualcomm maintains that the whole industry benefits from its inventions beyond the standard-essential technology to connect to a telecom network. The company is, therefore, using patent litigation to try to prove that its other intellectual property contributes significantly to the iPhone.
Meanwhile, Apple claims that Qualcomm uses its patents for basic mobile telecommunications functionality to demand royalties “that far exceed the contribution this technology makes to Apple’s increasingly sophisticated products”:
“Qualcomm could really use a win to bolster the view that its robust patent portfolio is entitled to protection,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Tamlin Bason. But he added that, because Qualcomm is unlikely to get a court order banning sales of infringing iPhone models, the chipmaker may not gain much leverage against Apple if it wins the trial.
Even if it loses, Apple can shrug off virtually any damage award, according to Bason, but a verdict for the iPhone maker would weaken Qualcomm’s hand.
A major damages award by jurors would help Qualcomm undermine Apple’s claims that the chipmaker overcharges for its patent portfolio and may force Apple into negotiating a comprehensive settlement.
Jury selection for the case starts today with the trial scheduled to take two weeks.