Jury finds Apple guilty of infringing on Qualcomm patents in latest lawsuit worth $31M

Apple’s latest legal fight with Qualcomm started last week and a jury verdict today spells disappointing news for Apple. The jury for the suit voted that Apple infringed on all three of the patents that Qualcomm based the case on as it seeks $31 million in damages.

As reported by CNET, one of the key factors was that the jury dismissed the idea that one of Apple’s former engineers should be credited with co-invention on one of the patents.

The jury also struck down an argument by Apple that one of its then-employees contributed to the boot-up patent, and should have been named as an inventor. That would have meant the patent was invalid and unable to be infringed.

While this is certainly a blow to Apple, it comes with a small price-tag (relatively speaking) of paying $31 million in damages to Qualcomm.

However, just yesterday in a separate case, a judge gave a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm must pay Apple a much larger sum of $1 billion for patent royalty rebate payments. But the final decision on that much larger patent case won’t be made until next month.

Further, if Apple does indeed win that more crucial case, the damages will have already been accounted for by Apple withholding payments to Qualcomm over the previous months.

Despite Curiel’s ruling, however, there is still a lot undecided. The decision will not be final until after next month’s trial. Furthermore, Apple’s contract factories have already withheld $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. Thus, Qualcomm has already accounted for this in its financial statements and it will not need to cut a check to Apple.

Apple shared an official statement on the verdict, via CNET’s Richard Nieva, which paints this lawsuit as just a distraction from the bigger legal battles Qualcomm is facing stateside and abroad.

As for Qualcomm, it shared a statement as well, celebrating its victory.

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