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Monday, June 11, 2018
Important Hearings to Determine Apple and Qualcomm's Legal Dispute

Apple and Qualcomm have been accusing each other for more than a year, but upcoming hearings in the U.S., China and Germany are expected to bring some progress in the case.

In the the U.S., the International Trade Commission in Washington will begin a hearing on Qualcomm's argument that Apple is infringing three patents as soon as next week.

Qualcomm is asking the agency to ban imports of all iPhone 7 models that dont have Qualcomm's chips.

Another court in Mannheim, Germany, is hearing a case by the chipmaker that argues iPhones using Intel chips infringe Qualcomm's patents and should be excluded from access to Europe's largest national market. The judge tentatively agreed with Qualcomm but put the case on hold while the European Patent Office decides whether the patent in question is valid.

In China, tthe Chinese Patent Review Board begins hearings this month and next to consider Apple's request to invalidate patents that Qualcomm is trying to use against it.

For its part, Apple it trying to save some billions in technology licensing payments by forcing chipmaker Qualcomm to change the way it does business. The iPhone maker has argues that Qualcomm uses its ownership of patents that cover the basics of how modern smartphones communicate to extract unfairly high payments.

Qualcomm claims that Apple is stealing its property by refusing to hand over fees for technology that the rest of the industry pays for.

Apple may be the hook for $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion in unpaid fees, a total that could be equivalent to about one-fifth of Qualcomm's annual revenue.

More than 50 separate intellectual property and antitrust proceedings have been filed across 16 jurisdictions in six countries. While no single case will resolve everything, a number of decisions in the second half of 2018 could create an incentive to settle.

Eventually, a settlement is widely expected between the two behemoths, though the timing and terms are uncertain.

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