Court Denies Qualcomm’s Anti-Suit Injunction Against Apple

September 11, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

A United States federal judge in San Diego, California, denied Qualcomm’s anti-suit injunction against Apple which the company filed earlier this year, seeking to block 11 foreign lawsuits which the Cupertino-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) filed against it all over the world. According to the Thursday ruling from Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Apple is allowed to go through with its lawsuits while Qualcomm is challenging them despite the fact that it’s within the firm’s rights to question such a litigation strategy and object to it due to its “duplicative” nature. The competent judge remained adamant that the San Diego court will not stand in the way of Apple’s decision to exercise the rights given to it in foreign jurisdictions, noting that it’s not in the judicial body’s power to rule whether Apple’s overseas motions are vexatious or duplicative.

The iPhone maker previously filed for litigation against Qualcomm and a number of its subsidiaries in 11 countries including Japan, China, and the United Kingdom, alleging that the company is charging unfair licensing fees and is aggressively forcing OEMs into paying for their own inventions, thus directly profiting on technology that is in no way related to the one it’s actually licensing. Apple is claiming that Qualcomm’s per-device royalty fees are structured in a way that violates the principles of common patent licensing, consequently preventing the firm from negotiating with OEMs over patent licenses in good faith. Qualcomm repeatedly dismissed those accusations of anti-competitive behavior and stated that its technology enabled the contemporary smartphone era, adding that its non-standard licensing fees are only applied to patents which are defined by competent authorities as being common. The semiconductor company stated that it’s “disappointed” with the San Diego court’s ruling, whereas Apple welcomed the latest turn of events, describing it as another step in the firm’s efforts to stop paying for “a tax” on its own inventions.

The denial of Qualcomm’s anti-suit injunction against Apple comes shortly after the company suffered another major legal loss related to patent law on the other side of the globe, with a competent court in South Korea refusing its motion to suspend the fine issued by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) in late 2016 before the same body rules on its main appeal to the sanctions which Qualcomm argued would cause “irreparable damage” to its regional operations while expressing confidence that it will be able to overturn them in the near future. The company is currently also facing regulatory scrutiny in Europe and is being investigated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission which filed an antitrust complaint against it earlier this year.