A judge with the International Trade Commission ruled that iPhone models infringe on a Qualcomm patent. However, he declined Qualcomm’s request to ban the import of the infringing devices into the U.S.
The judge also said the iPhone doesn’t infringe on two other patents owned by the chip maker.
The two companies are embroiled in legal wrangling in multiple counties. At the heart of their dispute is whether Apple is violating Qualcomm patents by refusing to pay billions of dollars in licensing fees. Apple argues that not all the patents are valid, and also says Qualcomm sets its fee too high for basic technology.
Just another round of Apple v Qualcomm
Last year, Qualcomm asked the ITC to block the import of all iPhones that use modems made by Intel because those modems infringe Qualcomm patents.
Today, Administrative Law Judge Thomas Pender agreed that Apple is infringing on one of the three patents in question.
However, he didn’t order an import ban on all infusing iPhone units, which is in the ITC’s power. Pender said in legalese: “It is my recommendation that the statutory public interest factors weigh against issuing a limited exclusion order as to products found to infringe the patents asserted in this investigation.”
His ruling is somewhat preliminary, as the full International Trade Commission will need to review it. That should happen before January.
In the mean time, other lawsuits between Apple and Qualcomm will continue until the two companies work out their differences. There’s even another case being argued to the ITC.