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U.S. judge’s ruling says Qualcomm owes Apple nearly $1 billion rebate payment

A U.S. Federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling, saying that Qualcomm Inc, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips, must pay nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments to Apple.

In a report by, Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that Qualcomm owes Apple the said amount due to payments the mobile chip maker stopped making.

The payments were part of Qualcomm and Apple business cooperation agreement where Qualcomm made “sizeable quarterly payments” to Apple to offset its licensing fees. Payments were only made as long as Apple “did not initiate or induce certain types of litigation or investigations.”

In September 2016, Qualcomm stopped paying Apple after alleging the latter of breaching their contract by urging the US Federal Trade Commission, Korean Fair Trade Commission, and other government bodies to conduct investigation on Qualcomm’s business practices.

However, Apple which filed its lawsuit against Qualcomm last 2017, denied the allegations, saying that it didn’t urge the FTC and other government bodies to investigate Qualcomm and that it didn’t file its own lawsuit until the contract expired at the end of 2016.

Curiel sided with Apple as he stated in his ruling: “The Court concludes that Qualcomm has not carried its burden on this issue, and partial summary judgment should be entered in favor of Apple that Qualcomm cannot receive a refund of the BCPA payments as damages…for the breach of contract claim.”

“Apple did not file a lawsuit during the BCPA. And Apple’s filing of the lawsuit after the BCPA does not retroactively relieve Qualcomm of past payment obligations,” he added.

Curiel’s ruling is not yet final as Apple a win over Qualcomm are yet to face in court trials.

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