It doesn't matter if you are a small technology company working your way up through the business ranks or an entity with a massive mother ship in Silicon Valley like Apple, intellectual property litigation tends to be a high-stakes game. Protecting your IP interests represents one significant challenge when you are a patent holder. On the other end of the scale is the prospect of your company facing accusations of infringement.
Regardless of which side of the fence you be on, one thing that often remains a constant is that the complexity of the legal processes are going to be such that it demands he help of experienced counsel.
Apple is one of those companies that makes regular headlines for its forays in IP law. One of the latest of them occurred earlier this month and resulted in what most observers agree is a win for the Cupertino-based conglomerate over another technology giant, Qualcomm.
In a decision issued Feb. 5, a federal judge ruled that Qualcomm is not entitled to seek damages for alleged patent infringement that occurred prior to 2017. In addition to narrowing possible compensation, the judge rejected Qualcomm claims of infringement involving two of several patents that have been in contention, and that is another interesting element in this case.
Qualcomm's original suit accused Apple of infringing on six mobile device patents. According to reports, Qualcomm eventually dropped three of the claims. With the judge's recent dismissal only one more claim remains, and it appears that Apple is working to mitigate potential financial fallout in the event it loses at trial on that issue. Apple says it's issued a software update to its iOS 12.1 system update to skirt a Qualcomm patent on certain power-saving technology.
Getting back to the point we raised at the start of this post, it is important to note that this U.S. court ruling is only in one case of several underway around the world between these two companies. And, while the eventual price tag on the war is yet undetermined, numbers in the hundreds of millions and even $1 billion have been talked about. High stakes.