The United States Supreme Court has killed Apple’s efforts to overturn Qualcomm’s patents, ending the iPhone maker’s long-standing legal battle.
Apple relies on Qualcomm for the modems it includes in its iPhones and iPads. The two companies have a years-long history of legal disputes over Qualcomm’s patents. The battle began in 2017 when Qualcomm accused Apple of infringing patents, with the two companies reaching a settlement in 2019.
As AppleInsider notes, the settlement allowed Apple to continue using Qualcomm’s modems but contained a provision that also allowed Apple to challenge the validity of two of Qualcomm’s patents. Apple has maintained that Qualcomm could, and likely would, sue it again once the current license agreement expires in 2025 or 2027 if the two companies extend the agreement.
Unfortunately for Apple, the Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled in Qualcomm’s favor. Apple appealed the decision, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also sided with Qualcomm.
The Supreme Court has now declined to hear Apple’s case, following the Biden Administration urging the court to deny Apple’s appeal.
Only time will tell if Qualcomm will sue Apple once the current agreement expires, but the entire situation is no doubt lending impetus to Apple’s efforts to design and deploy its own modem stack.