Even though chipmaker Qualcomm and Apple settled a global dispute over smartphone chips in 2019, the matter isn’t over. Qualcomm got another chance Tuesday to show that one of its smartphone-chip patents challenged by Apple is valid, setting up another round of arguments before a key U.S. patent tribunal, reports Reuters.
On April 15, 2019, the two companies agreed to dismiss all litigation and reached a six-year license agreement (with a two-year option to extend) as well as a multi-year chipset supply agreement.
Simply put, this is huge. It was beginning to look like Apple wouldn’t have a top-tier supplier for 5G chipsets, and the company (although rumored to be working on its own modem chipsets) was recently rebuffed by Samsung in an attempt to gain a 5G chip supply.
However, yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the Patent Trial and Appeal Board may have wrongly relied on part of Qualcomm’s own patent to find that it was invalid.
Reuters says that the board ruled for Apple in 2020 based on previous publications, as well as part of the challenged patent that said most of its limitations were already known in the prior art. Qualcomm appealed to the Federal Circuit, arguing the patent itself couldn’t qualify as prior art, while Apple argued that the board could rely on the prior art mentioned in Qualcomm’s patent.
The accompany image is from the classic Mel Brooks’ comedy, “Young Frankenstein,” a must-see film.