Apple and Qualcomm Settle Global Licensing Dispute

Technology companies announce that all suits against one another have been dropped
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Apple and Qualcomm have announced a settlement to their sprawling technology licensing dispute, dropping all lawsuits against one another.

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In settling the dispute, which dates back to January 2017, Apple has agreed to make an unspecified payment to Qualcomm. The companies have also forged a six-year global patent licensing agreement for Qualcomm technology, as well as the re-introduction of Qualcomm hardware—including modems—into Apple’s iPhones.

Apple had pushed back against what it said were Qualcomm’s unreasonable patent licensing demands. The San Diego tech vendor, the Silicon Valley giant said, was abusing its high level of leverage for essential wireless tech patents.

Related: Apple's Big Original TV Model Follows Not-So-Original Playbook

For Qualcomm, which makes the bulk of its revenue on patent licensing, the battle was somewhat existential. The tide turned for the company with important recent rulings against Apple in Germany and China.

Although the fight had raged for two years, the two companies only entered a U.S. courtroom this week. In fact, the settlement was reportedly announced as opening arguments were being introduced. 

ACT | The App Association President Morgan Reed said the group welcomed the agreement and the end to the legal fight. The Apple v. Qualcomm litigation has always been a distraction from the core of Qualcomm’s anticompetitive business model and the vast impact it has on companies large and small throughout the economy, from precision agriculture to autonomous cars to connected health," he said.

But he said the Federal Trade Commission "must continue fighting to ensure Qualcomm lives up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents to any willing licensee under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms."

The association represents 5,000 app developers and device companies.

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