Friday, April 27, 2018

Qualcomm's first ITC complaint against Apple down to three patents (from the original six)

Qualcomm has further narrowed its first USITC complaint (request for import ban) against Apple. It originally brought the complaint in early July 2017 and published a full-page infographic with the following headline: "Six inventions iPhones use everyday [sic]"

Less than ten months later, the number of asserted patents has gone down from six to three (this post continues below the image):

Withdrawals of patents and claims are expected by the ITC and necessary for the trade agency with quasijudicial powers to keep its ambitious schedules. Qualcomm's first withdrawal of a patent-in-suit came at an unusually early stage of proceedings: only a couple of weeks after the ITC had instituted the investigation. The day before yesterday, Qualcomm withdrew, besides claims from other patents, all asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949 and U.S. Patent No. U.S. Patent No. 9,608,675.

Between those withdrawals in the first ITC case, Qualcomm brought a second ITC complaint against Apple (in the fourth quarter of 2017).

At a February hearing held by the Munich I Regional Court, Qualcomm's German counsel expressed an intent and offered a prediction: Quinn Emanuel's Dr. Marcus Grosch said he was expecting to secure a German patent injunction for his client by August or September of this year.

The next Munich hearing will take place next Thursday (May 3). First hearings in Munich serve the purpose of discussing the key issues the court has identified based on the complaint and the answer to the complaint. At that stage, validity usually isn't discussed yet. Next week's hearing will be about the German parts of four European patents from the same family, each covering a "method and device for communication channel selection": EP1956806, EP1955529, EP3054658, and EP3094067.

It appears that the claimed inventions were made by SnapTrack, a GPS-focused Silicon Valley startup aquired by Qualcomm in 2000 for $1 billion.

Since I'm still in Munich, I'll attend and share my observations here.

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