Saturday, December 2, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court nixes Apple’s request to revive Qualcomm patent challenges

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear Apple’s bid to revive an effort to cancel two Qualcomm smartphone patents despite the global settlement of the underlying dispute between the two tech giants, reports Reuters.

The justices nixed the tech giant’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that the Cupertino, California-based company lacked standing to pursue the matter because of the settlement. Apple had argued that it should be allowed to appeal because San Diego-based Qualcomm could sue again after the settlement ends.

Chipmaker Qualcomm and Apple settled a global dispute over smartphone chips in 2019. However, the former got another chance in February to show that one of its smartphone-chip patents challenged by Apple is valid.

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.

The settlement included licenses to many of Qualcomm’s patents, but  also allowed Apple to challenge the validity of two patents at the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

The PTAB ruled in Qualcomm’s favor. In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed Apple’s appeal.

As noted by Reuters, tThe Federal Circuit rejected Apple’s contention that its royalty payments and risk of being sued again justified hearing the case on the merits.

Apple told the Supreme Court that it still faced the risk of litigation after the agreement expires in 2025, or in 2027 if the settlement term is extended. Qualcomm already sued once, has “not disclaimed its intention to do so again,” and has a “history of aggressively enforcing its patents,” Apple said.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.