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Apple, Qualcomm settle bitter dispute over iPhone technology

SFGate Wednesday, 17 April 2019 ()
For the past two years, Apple and Qualcomm have dueled on three continents over the division of billions of dollars of smartphone profits and even how much consumers pay for their phones.

On Tuesday, just as a trial had begun in a federal courtroom in San Diego over a suit Apple had filed against Qualcomm, the two companies said they had essentially made up.

The companies, one the maker of iPhones and the other one of the largest providers of mobile chips, said they had agreed to dismiss all litigation between them worldwide. They added that they had reached a six-year agreement for Cupertino’s Apple to pay royalties on Qualcomm’s patents, which was effective as of April 1.

That deal included a two-year option to extend, plus a multiyear chip supply agreement. In addition, Apple will make an undisclosed one-time payment to Qualcomm and pay unspecified patent royalties to the chipmaker.

At the heart of the disputes was a disagreement over how Qualcomm charges royalties on patents that it holds on mobile chips. The San Diego company had pioneered a type of cellular communications in the 1990s that later became a mainstay of mobile devices. It charged the royalties on nearly every smartphone sold — even if the phone did not actually use Qualcomm chips. Apple eventually objected to that arrangement.

The provisions of the deal announced Tuesday suggest at least a partial victory for Qualcomm’s patent-driven business model, which has also attracted harsh scrutiny from regulators like the Federal Trade Commission in a separate case awaiting a federal judge’s ruling. Qualcomm’s shares, which have been hurt by the two-year dispute with Apple, jumped 23% on word of the settlement.

In agreeing to settle the case, Apple tacitly acknowledged it was able to live with Qualcomm’s business model — assuming the price...
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News video: Qualcomm soars after Apple patent settlement

Qualcomm soars after Apple patent settlement 01:36

Shares of chip technology company Qualcomm surged 22 percent after it reached a six-year licensing agreement with Apple, ending a long-running bitter dispute between the two tech giants. Conway G. Gittens reports.

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