The U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Apple can not continue to question Qualcomm’s patents after its settlement with the chip manufacturer in 2019. The new ruling upholds the order of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) which has barred the Cupertino tech giant from invalidating certain Qualcomm’s patents.
In 2017, Apple filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm over royalty payment and patent licensing price disputes and Qualcomm followed up with its own lawsuit claiming that Cupertino tech giant was unwilling to pay fair market value to access its standard-essential payments, breach contract, and more. However, in 2019 both companies agreed to end all litigation matters even before the high-stakes patent licensing case even went to trial. The deal included a global patent license and a chipset supply agreement. The press release read:
Qualcomm and Apple today announced an agreement to dismiss all litigation between the two companies worldwide. The settlement includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm. The companies also have reached a six-year license agreement, effective as of April 1, 2019, including a two-year option to extend, and a multiyear chipset supply agreement.
Apple forfeited rights to invalidate Qualcomm’s patents after it settled with the manufacturer
Upholding the previous ruling, Federal Circuit dismissed Cupertino tech company’s appeal to get Qualcomm’s patents dismissed.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the PTAB’s decision, stating that Apple’s settlement with Qualcomm precludes it from continuing to make moves to question the validity of the chipmaker’s patents.
As such, Apple’s appeal of four PTAB decisions that upheld claims in several pieces of intellectual property owned by Qualcomm has been dismissed.
“We do not write on a blank skate in assessing Apple’s standing here,” read the Federal Circuit’s decision. “Rather, as presaged above, the writing is already on the wall.”
Legal matters are getting complicated for the Cupertino tech giant. Recently, Judge Rogers dismissed the company’s request for more time to implement the App Store changes ordered in the Epic Games case and gave it until December 9, 2021, to allow developers to add links in their app to alternative payment methods outside the App Store.