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Will San Diego’s Qualcomm prevail in IP dispute with Apple?

Though Qualcomm is headquartered here in San Diego, it has more than 200 facilities spanning the globe. The chip-making giant is embroiled in a patent infringement dispute with another California tech titan: Apple.

Last month, many observers thought Qualcomm suffered a legal defeat when a U.S. International Trade Commission judge ruled that Apple’s iPhones shouldn’t be banned though they infringe a Qualcomm patent. But an intellectual property business publication argues “that all is not lost for San Diego’s finest” in its IP dispute.

The contributors to IAM concede that “in absolute terms, Qualcomm lost,” but argue that the chip company made points that might enable it to eventually prevail at the ITC.

The administrative law judge determined that an order to exclude iPhones from the US would not be in the public’s interest. The ruling is a departure from ITC norms, the IAM experts say; a departure that “appears to present potential upside and constrained downside for Qualcomm.”

The two tech giants have battled for years over various claims, including assertions by Apple that Qualcomm patent royalties are illegally high; that Qualcomm offered illegal inducements to establish market dominance; and that it illegally leverages that alleged dominance to benefit its patent licensing business.

Qualcomm has asserted that Apple infringed on six of its patents and sought exclusion of Apple phones equipped with rival Intel processors. At the April ITC hearing, Apple argued that banning its Intel-based phones would harm the competitive chip-making balance in the U.S.

But the administrative judge’s finding that Apple infringed a Qualcomm patent could result in a positive outcome for the San Diego firm when the ITC renders a final decision early next year.

Entrepreneurs can defend their intellectual property with the help of a San Diego firm experienced in IP litigation.