iPhone modem supplier Qualcomm has received another chance from the U.S. Court of Appeals to show that one of its patents challenged by Apple is still valid.
Apple faces setback in patent dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm
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 the Cupertino tech giant was unwilling to pay fair market value to access its standard-essential payments, it breached their contract and more.
However, in 2019 both companies agreed to end all litigation matters before the high-stakes patent licensing case could go to trial and entered a six-year contract as Intel was exiting the modem business. Both companies have since challenged this settlement based on different patent decisions.
In November 2021, the Federal Circuit even rejected the Cupertino tech giant’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.
Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the Patent Trial and Appeal Board may have wrongly relied on the chipmaker’s patent to find it was invalid. The board had previously ruled that the patent qualified as prior art, and Qualcomm tried to dispute this decision.
The Federal Circuit has agreed with Qualcomm’s appeal, giving the chipmaker another opportunity to defend its patent. As reported by Reuters, U.S. Circuit Judge Raymond Chen wrote for a three-judge panel that the statement from Qualcomm’s patent was not prior art and that Apple’s challenge couldn’t be based on it. The case was then sent back to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to consider if the statement was the basis for the tech giant’s challenge.
We do not know which patent has been sent back for re-evaluation by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.