Apple sued Qualcomm two years ago for breach of contract, saying it owed Apple unpaid rebates. Qualcomm in turn accused Apple of breaking their business agreement by making "false and misleading" statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission. On March 14, District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled that Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion in unpaid rebates. But that isn't nearly the full scope of what Apple is seeking in this case.
If it prevails, Apple's contract manufacturers could see $27 billion, and if the final court decision affects how Qualcomm can collect royalties, it would be a big blow to the San Diego-based chipmaker.
For that to happen, said Bob, the court would have to determine the patents in question are for technologies deemed essential to wireless standards, and that Qualcomm had been charging too much for those licenses. "It will affect how Qualcomm licenses with other companies, and its relationships with other companies, if its patents are deemed invalid, Qualcomm is deemed to use excessive force, or if they are determined to be standards-essential patents," he said. "These are all things that have not been evaluated with these particular patents yet."
"There are probably patents in the works that Qualcomm is going to assert against Apple," Bob said. "I don't think this is anywhere near the end.... Neither benefits from the demise of the other."