Today, a German court ruled out that Apple infringes on a Qualcomm patent by using Intel modem inside its iPhones. The ruling has put a ban on the sales of iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 across the country. Josh Landau from Patent Progress has provided some key details about the proceeding and how Qualcomm acted unfairly in the case.
According to Josh Landau just like any defending party, Apple was allowed to defend its case in a court hearing. However, the company could not produce key evidence before the court that could have changed the outcome of this case. This key evidence included testimony from the chip designer and the Qorvo chip schematics that Qualcomm claims infringe on its patent.
It was not that Apple did not want to produce the evidence or the chip designer Qorvo was not ready to produce itself before the court. In fact, Apple had used the same key evidence in a U.S. ITC case filed by Qualcomm and the verdict turned out to be in Apple’s favor.
So, what exactly happened in Germany that prevented Apple from producing such important evidence in the court? Here are the important details provided by Josh:
In fact, the U.S. ITC, with access to exactly that evidence and testimony, found that the U.S. counterpart patent was not infringed. That was in September.
After that happened, Qualcomm’s European counsel apparently chose not to agree to hold that evidence confidential—even though Qualcomm’s U.S. counsel, from the same firm, had agreed to such conditions. And because they wouldn’t agree to prevent others—particularly Qualcomm’s engineers, who design products that compete with Qorvo’s—from seeing that evidence, it couldn’t be presented to the German courts.
By not agreeing to hold the evidence confidential, Qualcomm allowed its engineers to have access to Qorvo’s engineering secrets. So, it is safe to say that using a cheap tactic, Qualcomm prevented Apple from bringing the key evidence to the court and ended up winning a ban on iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 devices.
By using such a cheap tactic, the company prevented Apple from bringing a key piece of evidence to the court and ended up winning a sales ban on iPhone 7 and iPhone 8.
Landau notes that Qualcomm accused Apple of infringing on ten of its patents. The verdict given by the German court is on two of those patents that are related to the design of the envelope tracking chip. Other eight patents involve Apple’s Spotlight search and the verdict from the German court is expected to be delivered in January.