Qualcomm blocked evidence in German Apple suit that previously led to non-infringement fin...

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2018
In a German lawsuit against Apple, Qualcomm's attorneys refused to agree to hold evidence confidential, preventing it from being evaluated by the court. That same evidence was held confidential by the company's attorneys in a U.S. case, which subsequently found Qualcomm's patents were not infringed.

Qualcomm


After losing its patent infringement claims against Apple supplier Qorvo in an American trial, Qualcomm is working hard to make it difficult for courts elsewhere to evaluate the merits of its patent claims. That issue is in play in the German court that on Thursday issued an injunction against sales of iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 from Apple's retail stores in Germany.

Writing for Patent Progress, Josh Landau a Patent Counsel at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, noted that "while Apple was provided the opportunity to defend itself at a hearing, the court was deprived of key evidence -- the schematics of the chip alleged to infringe, and the testimony of the designer of that chip."

Landau noted that the chip designer, Qorvo, had presented the same evidence in a U.S. trial, but in Germany, Qualcomm refused to agree to hold the evidence confidential, a stance that would reveal Qorvo's trade secrets to Qualcomm's own engineers. That blocked Apple from "presenting evidence of how the allegedly infringing chip actually operates -- evidence that led to a finding of non-infringement in a U.S. court."

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents further detailed the issues in the German case, which involved ten Qualcomm patents: eight targeting Apple's Spotlight search, and two involving "a patent on a power-efficient envelope tracker chip design" by Qorvo.

The German court issued an injunction on sales of Intel-based iPhone models prior to iPhone X in Germany.

"It's all because Qualcomm alleged something and Apple couldn't deny it without violating Qorvo's secrets," Mueller stated. "I am shocked that Qualcomm's procedural gamesmanship -- firstly conducting discovery in the U.S. for the stated purpose of presenting chipset schematics in the Munich court, then making an about-face and asking the German court to rule, and the court-appointed expert to opine, on a basis that's lacking and wanting -- has been rewarded.

"If they have the law and the facts on their side, they deserve to win, but here they wanted--and disconcertingly obtained--a ruling on a basis that I've previously called 'evidentiary minimalism' and which would be totally unimaginable in the United States with its far-reaching discovery regime."

Mueller added, "because of the way things went wrong here, I wouldn't hold my breath that this injunction will ever get enforced (for more than maybe a negligibly short period of time) as the appeals court -- the Munich Higher Regional Court -- won't necessarily agree with the court below that a patent holder should be rewarded for not enabling the court and the court-appointed expert to get the benefit of seeing the actual chipset schematics."

Qualcomm's efforts in Germany to prevent evidence from being evaluated by the court follows a surprise filing it made in China, where it demanded an injunction on iPhone sales without notifying Apple of any infringement and without allowing it to respond to the claims-- which related to patents Qualcomm acquired for the purpose of using them offensively against Apple in China.

The Chinese court issued an "ex parte preliminary injunction -- an injunction issued without notice to the enjoined party, and without any opportunity to respond," Landau wrote. "That sort of injunction is completely banned in the U.S. under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because it completely fails to meet the minimum bounds of due process."

Qualcomm is working to piece together leverage it can use in its negotiations with Apple and its suppliers, but its tactics in China and Germany are likely to backfire, particularly since the company has previously complained about due process in its legal defense related to fines imposed by Korea Fair Trade Commission.

Qualcomm faces a suit for $9 billion in damages from contract manufacturers, as well as a series of cases brought by government regulators, including the U.S. case brought by the Federal Trade Commission scheduled for January 4. Qualcomm also faces a consumer class action suite scheduled to go to trial in June, involving 250 million consumers arguing that Qualcomm's behavior is injurious and harming innovation in unfairly raising prices to end users.
Francules
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    davendaven Posts: 495member
    I wonder what recourse Apple has. If they get that admitted into evidence on appeal, if additional evidence is allowed in appeal, then it seems that Apple could argue that Qualcomm should be held liable for lost sales and if this quarter is a slow one, blame it all on Qualcomm.
    mwhiteMacPromagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 30
    ktappektappe Posts: 759member
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 30
    bellsbells Posts: 118member
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    Qualcomm is claiming Apple's devices infringe a battery saving technology. Apple and its supplier Quorvo is saying that is not the case. Apple can achieve the same result using another method not patented by Qualcomm. However, Apple's supplier Quorvo doesn't want to share the information with Qualcomm's engineers because it is a trade secret.

    So, in the US, the Court was allowed to view Quorvo's technology without it being made available to Qualcomm's engineers, and the Judge was convinced Apple's iPhones didn't infringe Qualcomm's patents.

    The difference in outcome is between the way the courts and parties handled the evidence. In the US, the Court was able to evaluate the evidence, which was kept secret from Qualcomm's engineers. In Germany, Qualcomm prevented Apple and its supplier from keeping the evidence confidential, which allowed the Judge to rule against Apple. Totally whacky if you ask me. 

    Apple's supplier is rightfully worried that if its trade secrets are revealed to Qualcomm, Qualcomm will steal its otherwise unprotected technology. 
    magman1979watto_cobraentropysgilly33
  • Reply 4 of 30
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    It looks like they have been fishing the world for a court that fit their needs. In both China and Germany questionable actions were allowed. So, you issue and injunction based only on the word of the plaintiff. Apple heard about the China case after the fact. In Germany they kept the refuting evidence out by demanding to see  their competitor’s trade secrets. 

    I really hope Intel gets it together and shuts them down. 
    sflocalGabywatto_cobragilly33
  • Reply 5 of 30
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    I'm retired attorney who had one case which crossed international boundaries (with India). I'm certainly no expert here and would be interested in the opinion of attorneys who have practiced in the international arena, particularly in intellectual property.

    Nonetheless, I can point to a recent (June 14, 2018) SCOTUS decision on Comity (this is the legal term for what we are discussing).

    In this particular case, the Federal Second Circuit (an Appeals Court) said that when a foreign government submits an official statement on the meaning and interpretation of its laws, federal courts are “bound to defer” to the foreign government’s construction of its laws, whenever that construction is “reasonable.” [

    See Animal Science Products, Inc., et al., v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al. 

    837 F. 3d 175

    Issues 

    Is a court bound to defer to a foreign government’s interpretation of its domestic law when appearing before the court?

    Oral argument: 
    April 24, 2018


    On appeal of this decision to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsberg, writing for the unanimous court, 
    found that when determining foreign law under FRCP 44.1, “[a] federal court should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government’s submission, but is not bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government’s statements.” (FRCP is Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). 

    You should infer from this SCOTUS decision that it is highly likely the German courts would similarly view foreign court decisions (i.e., US court decisions). 

    From this I, and you, would be wise to conclude that the German justice system is not thereby "f---ed up". 
    edited December 2018 fotoformatmuthuk_vanalingamsaltyzip
  • Reply 6 of 30
    bellsbells Posts: 118member

    daven said:
    I wonder what recourse Apple has. If they get that admitted into evidence on appeal, if additional evidence is allowed in appeal, then it seems that Apple could argue that Qualcomm should be held liable for lost sales and if this quarter is a slow one, blame it all on Qualcomm.

    To obtain the injunction, Qualcomm has to put up a crap load of money to cover Apple's damages if it eventually loses the case. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    flydogflydog Posts: 174member
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    No. That’s not possible anywhere even within the US. You can’t simply take evidence from one case and automatically use it in another case. 

    “f—ed up” would be if that was possible since the opposing party would not have an opportunity to challenge the admissibility of that evidence (you know that whole due process thing from the Constitution). 

    What you may have meant is whether a judgment or ruling in one case would apply in another, which is called collateral estoppel or res judicata (which is what permits the enforcement of judgments across states, for example). The answer is likely no, primarily because German and US patent and injunction law are different, and the facts of the case may be different. 
    edited December 2018 muthuk_vanalingamgatorguy
  • Reply 8 of 30
    flydogflydog Posts: 174member

    larryjw said:
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    I'm retired attorney who had one case which crossed international boundaries (with India). I'm certainly no expert here and would be interested in the opinion of attorneys who have practiced in the international arena, particularly in intellectual property.

    Nonetheless, I can point to a recent (June 14, 2018) SCOTUS decision on Comity (this is the legal term for what we are discussing).

    In this particular case, the Federal Second Circuit (an Appeals Court) said that when a foreign government submits an official statement on the meaning and interpretation of its laws, federal courts are “bound to defer” to the foreign government’s construction of its laws, whenever that construction is “reasonable.” [

    See Animal Science Products, Inc., et al., v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al. 

    Issues 

    Is a court bound to defer to a foreign government’s interpretation of its domestic law when appearing before the court?

    Oral argument: 
    April 24, 2018


    On appeal of this decision to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsberg, writing for the unanimous court, found that when determining foreign law under FRCP 44.1, “[a] federal court should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government’s submission, but is not bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government’s statements.” (FRCP is Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). 

    You should infer from this SCOTUS decision that it is highly likely the German courts would similarly view foreign court decisions (i.e., US court decisions). 

    From this I, and you, would be wise to conclude that the German justice system is not thereby "f---ed up". 
    That is a choice of law case, inapplicable here because neither Qualcomm nor Apple alleged that US patent law should apply, which would be a loser argument since the case concerns German patents. 
  • Reply 9 of 30
    Qualcomm is an example of companies that are more of a patent troll than an innovator these days.   Since they are publicly traded, the best thing that could happen would be for Apple to join up with Google to do a hostile takeover bid, purchase it, shut it down, and turn over the patents to public domain. The whole world would be better off.  That would avoid claims that Apple is cornering the market. I’m sure qualcomm has a poison pill in their stick that triggers if more than a certain percentage is purchased, but this could be thwarted by connecting to the right stockholders. 
    magman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    flydog said:

    larryjw said:
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    I'm retired attorney who had one case which crossed international boundaries (with India). I'm certainly no expert here and would be interested in the opinion of attorneys who have practiced in the international arena, particularly in intellectual property.

    Nonetheless, I can point to a recent (June 14, 2018) SCOTUS decision on Comity (this is the legal term for what we are discussing).

    In this particular case, the Federal Second Circuit (an Appeals Court) said that when a foreign government submits an official statement on the meaning and interpretation of its laws, federal courts are “bound to defer” to the foreign government’s construction of its laws, whenever that construction is “reasonable.” [

    See Animal Science Products, Inc., et al., v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al. 

    Issues 

    Is a court bound to defer to a foreign government’s interpretation of its domestic law when appearing before the court?

    Oral argument: 
    April 24, 2018


    On appeal of this decision to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsberg, writing for the unanimous court, found that when determining foreign law under FRCP 44.1, “[a] federal court should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government’s submission, but is not bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government’s statements.” (FRCP is Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). 

    You should infer from this SCOTUS decision that it is highly likely the German courts would similarly view foreign court decisions (i.e., US court decisions). 

    From this I, and you, would be wise to conclude that the German justice system is not thereby "f---ed up". 
    That is a choice of law case, inapplicable here because neither Qualcomm nor Apple alleged that US patent law should apply, which would be a loser argument since the case concerns German patents. 
    I don't agree, at least from what I can tell, the same set of six US Patents are in dispute in multiple foreign jurisdictions. We are not talking about German patents here. 

    There is the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty). This allows a patent filing in one signatory country to simultaneously seek patent protection in the other signatories. Both the US and Germany are signatories, the US having signed on in 2012. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 30
    Qualcomm using desperation tactics now.
    ericthehalfbeemagman1979
  • Reply 12 of 30
    Haven’t visited Foss Patents in awhile. Scrolling down the page there’s a funny article about the former Qualcomm president “duct taping” the gate at his house to make it difficult to get served. Apparently he’s been so hard to track down that the court is going to allow him to be served by mail. Nobody is willing to accept the notice. He seems to be quite “slippery”.
    Gabymagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 30
    larryjw said:
    flydog said:

    larryjw said:
    ktappe said:
    I wonder if a legal expert could answer this Q:   If the requisite evidence has already been presented in U.S. court, isn't it therefore available to the German court? Or are German courts willfully blind to previously available discovery? If the latter, that seems like a pretty f---ed up "justice" system Germany has.
    I'm retired attorney who had one case which crossed international boundaries (with India). I'm certainly no expert here and would be interested in the opinion of attorneys who have practiced in the international arena, particularly in intellectual property.

    Nonetheless, I can point to a recent (June 14, 2018) SCOTUS decision on Comity (this is the legal term for what we are discussing).

    In this particular case, the Federal Second Circuit (an Appeals Court) said that when a foreign government submits an official statement on the meaning and interpretation of its laws, federal courts are “bound to defer” to the foreign government’s construction of its laws, whenever that construction is “reasonable.” [

    See Animal Science Products, Inc., et al., v. Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., et al. 

    Issues 

    Is a court bound to defer to a foreign government’s interpretation of its domestic law when appearing before the court?

    Oral argument: 
    April 24, 2018


    On appeal of this decision to the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsberg, writing for the unanimous court, found that when determining foreign law under FRCP 44.1, “[a] federal court should accord respectful consideration to a foreign government’s submission, but is not bound to accord conclusive effect to the foreign government’s statements.” (FRCP is Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). 

    You should infer from this SCOTUS decision that it is highly likely the German courts would similarly view foreign court decisions (i.e., US court decisions). 

    From this I, and you, would be wise to conclude that the German justice system is not thereby "f---ed up". 
    That is a choice of law case, inapplicable here because neither Qualcomm nor Apple alleged that US patent law should apply, which would be a loser argument since the case concerns German patents. 
    I don't agree, at least from what I can tell, the same set of six US Patents are in dispute in multiple foreign jurisdictions. We are not talking about German patents here. 

    There is the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty). This allows a patent filing in one signatory country to simultaneously seek patent protection in the other signatories. Both the US and Germany are signatories, the US having signed on in 2012. 
    Indeed. A thorough reading of the articles on fosspatents.com seems to suggest that it's the same set of patents in dispute in multiple foreign jurisdictions, although Florian Mueller mentions 10 patents being argued in Germany in the article that DED has linked to here and in his other previous articles.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 30
    Let's face it apple screwed up. Engineers from Qualcomm have provided enough proof apple are violating patents, but apple haven't shown evidence they don't, hence guilty verdict.

    How did this work out in the US case, who independently evaluated the testimony of the chip designer and expertly reviewed the chip schematics?

    The judge isn't qualified to do that, would need an independent expert.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 15 of 30
    wanderso said:
    Qualcomm is an example of companies that are more of a patent troll than an innovator these days.   Since they are publicly traded, the best thing that could happen would be for Apple to join up with Google to do a hostile takeover bid, purchase it, shut it down, and turn over the patents to public domain. The whole world would be better off.  That would avoid claims that Apple is cornering the market. I’m sure qualcomm has a poison pill in their stick that triggers if more than a certain percentage is purchased, but this could be thwarted by connecting to the right stockholders. 
    If Qualcomm are a patent troll, what are Apple, they used their weight to sue android manufacturers for stupid design patent infringements e.g swipe to unlock which has done nothing other than to distract them and lose a heap load of money.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    Nothing new for Qualcomm.

    In 2007, Qualcomm and its lawyers got into trouble on the last day of a lengthy patent trial when a key witness admitted there were several email critical to the case that had not been produced. During post trial proceedings, it came to light that a lot more relevant emails and other documents hadn’t been produced—over 300,000 pages of juicy stuff. The trial court went ballistic and referred the matter to Magistrate Major for further investigation and a recommendation on sanctions.

    On January 7th, Magistrate Major released a 42 page Order issuing over $8.5 million in sanctions against Qualcomm and referring 6 of its lawyers (out of 19 who were at risk) to the California Bar for investigation of possible ethics violations.

    Plus, they were fined for hiring relatives of Government decision-makers as interns in China... another ethics violation.

    They seem to be on a roll.




    Gabywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 30
    wanderso said:
    Qualcomm is an example of companies that are more of a patent troll than an innovator these days.   Since they are publicly traded, the best thing that could happen would be for Apple to join up with Google to do a hostile takeover bid, purchase it, shut it down, and turn over the patents to public domain. The whole world would be better off.  That would avoid claims that Apple is cornering the market. I’m sure qualcomm has a poison pill in their stick that triggers if more than a certain percentage is purchased, but this could be thwarted by connecting to the right stockholders. 
    So you expect Apple and Google to spend tens of BILLIONS of dollars to simply give the patents away?  Of course no company would consider that, nor could they as it would violate their duty to their shareholders, i.e., the owners.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 30
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,643member
    wanderso said:
    Qualcomm is an example of companies that are more of a patent troll than an innovator these days.   Since they are publicly traded, the best thing that could happen would be for Apple to join up with Google to do a hostile takeover bid, purchase it, shut it down, and turn over the patents to public domain. The whole world would be better off.  That would avoid claims that Apple is cornering the market. I’m sure qualcomm has a poison pill in their stick that triggers if more than a certain percentage is purchased, but this could be thwarted by connecting to the right stockholders. 
    That's totally wrong QualComm innovation.   Qualcomm is number 7 on the list of Companies with most patent's in 2017.   Apple's down at number 12.   Pretty low considering its the biggest, most profitable company in the world now.   Unfortunately invests more money in lawyers to try to steal tech from companies like Qualcomm than actually developing new technologies.   I'm expecting that Apple will be paying for expensive Solid State Batteries when they get developed by either Samsung (#2 in patents) or LG (#3 patents).
  • Reply 19 of 30
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,643member
    Qualcomm using desperation tactics now.
    Apple has become the 800 Gorilla like Microsoft of the late 90's.    Stealing tech from companies like QC instead of paying for it or developing it themselves.     Apple tried using Intel as their gutter thief with modems.   Maybe now with Intel's bad quality modems Apple will wise up and either try developing their own technology (wouldn't that be a real change) or pay QC for the best.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    GabyGaby Posts: 47member
    I really hope that by the end of this, and when everything comes to light, that those devious low-lives bankrupt themselves in fees and fines and lost revenue. Qualcomm is a stain upon the tech industry. 
    watto_cobra
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