Qualcomm criticized for using internal Apple documents in court

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FTC argues that Qualcomm should have introduced documents earlier.
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The legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm may be settled. But that hasn’t stopped Qualcomm from bringing up Apple’s name in court.

As part of a hearing to stop the enforcement of an antitrust ruling, Qualcomm used internal Apple documents as evidence. And the U.S. Federal Trade Commission wasn’t too happy about it.

The FTC won its case against Qualcomm back in May. The case against Qualcomm argued that it had suppressed competition in the mobile chip market. It also accused it of abusing its market-leading position to pull in excessive licensing fees.

Judge Lucy Koh concluded that Qualcomm’s business practices were anticompetitive. However, Qualcomm appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit.

In its latest hearing, Qualcomm drew on internal Apple documents. As Reuters reports:

“In the slides from internal Apple presentations, the iPhone maker outlined goals to ‘Create Leverage by Building Pressure’ and ‘Hurt Qualcomm Financially.’ … The slides were part of Qualcomm’s opening arguments from the Apple trial, in which the company outlined what its attorneys described as a targeted campaign by Apple to attack Qualcomm’s patent licensing model. In them, Apple discussed how to ‘devalue’ the kind of patents held by Qualcomm and ‘Reduce Apple’s Net Royalty to Qualcomm.'”

The slides were part of the opening presentation in Qualcomm’s previous civil trial against Apple. But they weren’t submitted as evidence during Qualcomm’s previous trial with the FTC. As a result, FTC officials say that submitting the slides is, “improper, unfair, and prejudicial.”

They said that, had they known ahead of time, an Apple witness could have been brought in. “An Apple witness may have testified to, among other things, the document’s context and purpose and the meaning of the cited language,” the FTC noted.

Order in court!

Although the context here is quite different, this isn’t the first time Apple documents have been controversially brought up in court recently. Earlier this week, two attorneys in a different case were sanctioned for sharing proprietary Apple information as part of a lawsuit.