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US Supreme Court puts Apple vs. Qualcomm battle to rest (again)

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Apple has lost its bid to cancel two Qualcomm patents for the second time since June. The US Supreme Court has again declined to hear Apple’s argument because the two companies have already reached a settlement.

The well-documented legal dispute unfolded in 2017 when Qualcomm sued Apple for allegedly infringing on patents with modem technology used in iPhones.

Apple previously sourced modem chips from Qualcomm, but switched to Intel for a short period when business negotiations reached an impasse. Fast forward to 2019 and both companies reached a settlement, stopped litigation, and resumed business as usual.

Apple still felt it risked being sued by Qualcomm in the future over two patents that the modem chip maker held. Apple argued that it was at risk of being sued again as soon as 2025 when the settlement term is initially set to expire.

After multiple court rejections, however, the case appears to be closed for the next several years unless Qualcomm does as Apple fears and pursues litigation over modem technology patents in the future.

Apple is reportedly planning to replace Qualcomm modems with its own 5G chips in iPhones by fall 2024 at the earliest. Qualcomm has previously told us that the two patents at hand here are not related to 5G, however.

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