Apple fails in bid to revive Qualcomm patent dispute


The US Supreme Court has turned away an appeal by Apple to void two Qualcomm smartphone patents which were crucial elements of a wider row between the companies in 2017 that was eventually settled two years later.

Apple had bid to revive an effort to cancel the two patents after arguing that Qualcomm could sue the iPhone maker again, after the terms of its settlement expired in 2025, in addition to an optional two year extension.

However, in a court document, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, without providing a reason why. The Justice Department had stated in May there was no reason to indicate the patents posed a threat to Apple’s business.

Apple and Qualcomm struck a six-year licensing deal in 2019 to settle their wider long-running dispute over patent licensing, effectively ending all litigation.

The settlement came after Qualcomm sued Apple in 2017, arguing its products including iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches infringed on the chipmaker’s mobile patents. This then instigated a wider row between the pair, including Apple hitting back with its own $1 billion lawsuit.

However, a US Patent and Trademark Office case involving the two patents in question continued. Apple has previously lost other attempts to invalidate the two patents and its appeal to the Supreme Court has now also fallen on deaf ears.

Rumours continue to circulate that Apple will no longer use Qualcomm for its 5G modems in the near-future, opting for its own technology, which could have an impact on the current truce.

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