A bitter battle over part of the technology used on iPhones was further complicated on Tuesday after a federal trade agency awarded separate victories to rival companies Apple and Qualcomm.
The International Trade Commission issued two decisions a few hours apart.
In one, the commercial court judge MaryJoan McNamara recommended banning the importation of some iPhone to the United States, after concluding that Apple’s best-selling devices infringed technology patents from chipmaker Qualcomm.
Subsequently, the plenum of the committee considered another case presented by Qualcomm and annulled a ruling issued in September last year by another judge, Thomas Pender. Although Pender had concluded that Apple’s iPhone had violated another patent owned by Qualcomm, the commission decided that the complaint was not valid.
The decision of the judge has yet to be considered by the full commission. If it coincides with McNamara, it is unknown if it will also impose an import ban and, if it does, which iPhone models would be affected.The decision represents the latest turning point in a vital legal dispute between Qualcomm and Apple over the rights to a certain technology that allows iPhones to connect to the internet.
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Qualcomm welcomed McNamara’s findings, while Apple praised the commission for invalidating the other complaint about the patent.
The legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple began more than two years ago after the US Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm for allegedly using its mobile technology patent portfolio to defraud phone manufacturers and stifle competition. in the chip market.
A federal court in San Jose, California, continues to weigh a ruling in the case two months after presiding over the trial.
Shortly after the Federal Trade Commission filed its case in 2017, Apple launched its own lawsuit in which it accused Qualcomm of trying to obtain licensing fees for technology that it did not really invent.
Later, Apple stopped paying royalties to Qualcomm, further affecting the relationship between the two companies.
Qualcomm came out ahead in another confrontation when a federal court in San Diego ruled that Apple should pay $ 31 million in damages for manufacturing various types of iPhone that violated Qualcomm’s patents. The fight is scheduled to resume on April 15 at another trial in federal court in San Diego.