Apple claims Qualcomm stole idea for smartphone boot-up tech from engineer

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in General Discussion
The latest installment of Apple and Qualcomm's worldwide legal scrum kicked off in San Diego on Monday with a startling allegation claiming one of Qualcomm's patents-in-suit is based on an idea introduced to the company by an Apple engineer.

Qualcomm


The patent in question, U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949 for "Direct scatter loading of executable software image from a primary processor to one or more secondary processor in a multi-processor system," was a topic of discussion for both parties during their respective opening remarks, according to an in-court report from CNET.

One of three patents in play in the Southern California action, the '949 patent details a "flashless boot" method that enables the integration of wireless modems without increasing a smartphone's onboard storage allotment. Specifically, the property describes techniques by which a scatter loader transfers a system image into the memory of a secondary processor, allowing said processor to boot without its own non-volatile memory.

As it relates to iPhone, innovations in the '949 patent enable Apple to avoid installation of non-volatile memory for both iPhone's A-series processor and an accompanying wireless modem processor. The arrangement is not only more efficient in terms of system performance, but also physical space and build costs.

According to Apple, the idea was spawned by former Apple engineer Arjuna Siva, who discussed the technology with counterparts at Qualcomm in an email correspondence.

"This one is truly the most outrageous allegation in the case," said Juanita Brooks, lead counsel for Apple. "They took the idea from us and ran down to the patent office."

Along with the '949 patent, Apple is also accused of infringing U.S. Patent No. 9,535,490 for "Power saving techniques in computing devices" and No. 8,633,936 for "Programmable streaming processor with mixed precision instruction execution."

In its opening statement, Qualcomm prepared jurors for what will likely be a slog through highly technical language and concepts. As in past suits, Qualcomm aims to frame itself as the inventor, owner and licensee of technology that underpins products like iPhone.

"Qualcomm, although it doesn't make a smartphone -- it doesn't have a product that you and I would buy -- it develops a lot of technology in smartphones," said David Nelson, lead attorney representing Qualcomm.

The San Diego case is the first action in the Qualcomm and Apple struggle to involve a U.S. jury. Previous court meetings ended in limited iPhone sales bans in China and Germany, though Apple has addressed the latter and claims to have a software workaround for the former. A U.S. International Trade Commission ruing threatens domestic iPhone sales, but Apple again believes it has discovered a software workaround to Qualcomm's IP.

Apple first filed suit against Qualcomm in 2017, claiming the chipmaker abused its "monopoly power" of the wireless modem industry to demand excessive royalties while at the same time forcing buyers to license patents. Those initial allegations snowballed into multiple patent lawsuits, countersuits and complaints with governmental agencies around the world.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,454member
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    edited March 4 watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 28
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 689member
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 28
    ivanhivanh Posts: 361member
    I wonder what legal and moral stanadards are being generally accepted. Do we need to hide all technical skills, management skills and companies worked in the resume? Are we forbidden to use all previous knowledge in the future jobs? If such, are the employers giving the employees retaining fee life-long, like pension?
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 28
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 967member
    ivanh said:
    I wonder what legal and moral stanadards are being generally accepted. Do we need to hide all technical skills, management skills and companies worked in the resume? Are we forbidden to use all previous knowledge in the future jobs? If such, are the employers giving the employees retaining fee life-long, like pension?
    This relates to an engineer who was working with Apple and provided the very idea to Qualcomm that they are suing Apple for now. 

    radarthekaturaharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 28
    RhythmagicRhythmagic Posts: 43unconfirmed, member
    Gosh can the stealing stop.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 28
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,336member
    mac_dog said:
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    Two words: Prior Art. If an Apple employee gave Qualcomm the idea, and Apple can prove they gave Qualcomm the idea, then the patent can be overturned.
    radarthekatmac_dog1stwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 28
    mac_dog said:
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    Well, yes and no. Not only must the patent idea must be first, it also must be unique. If there is pre-existing work that is similar, it can cause the patent do be denied. The story goes, a man floated a sunken boat by closing all openings and filling the boat with ping pong balls. And why couldn’t patent it? Because he saw Donald Duck do it first.
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 28
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,372member
  • Reply 9 of 28
    Hey Qualcomm:


    OG = original gangster 

    I guess it fits...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 28
    prokipprokip Posts: 149member
    Hey Qualcomm:


    OG = original gangster 

    I guess it fits...
    But the do have very nice blue office building ...
  • Reply 11 of 28
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,093moderator
    mac_dog said:
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    Not if there’s a non-disclosure or other evidence you didn’t invent that.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 28
    flydogflydog Posts: 298member
    MplsP said:
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    E-mails are hearsay, and are inadmissible except for limited purposes such as cross-examination.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,312member
    mac_dog said:
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    Not sure, there is a concept of prior art. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 28
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,312member

    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    E-mails are hearsay, and are inadmissible except for limited purposes such as cross-examination.
    I was surprised by this but you are correct. Apparently they aren't formal enough. 

    Apple must be fairly confident they can use these emails as evidence, though. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 28
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 726member
    jkichline said:
    mac_dog said:
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    Two words: Prior Art. If an Apple employee gave Qualcomm the idea, and Apple can prove they gave Qualcomm the idea, then the patent can be overturned.
    Not all disclosures constitute prior art for patentability purposes.

    Disclosures can be confidential. There has to be some degree of public accessibility to the information in question in order for it to constitute relevant prior art. The bar isn't particularly high, but it isn't the floor either. And not all forms of disclosure represent relevant prior art. It isn't necessarily prior art if I just tell you about an invention. There needs to be a printed publication, though that doesn't mean it needs to be published in the New York Times. A handout, or a poster or slides displayed for a period of time, can suffice. A patent application or granted patent can also represent prior art, as can the sale or public use of an invention.

    There's also the issue of prior disclosure by the inventors themselves (directly or indirectly) which can negate the prior art relevance of subsequent disclosures by others, even if those others weren't aware of the inventors' prior disclosure.

    Anyway, it seems more likely that the issues here would be (1) actual inventorship and (2) truthfulness of the applicant's declaration (accompanying the application) rather than a lack of patentability based on prior art.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 28
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,752member
    asdasd said:

    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    E-mails are hearsay, and are inadmissible except for limited purposes such as cross-examination.
    I was surprised by this but you are correct. Apparently they aren't formal enough. 

    Apple must be fairly confident they can use these emails as evidence, though. 
    It's a jury trial. It doesn't matter so much how "supportable" a claim is for invalidating an otherwise valid patent if it serves to introduce doubt to the jury, and that's Apple intent IMO. 

    With that said I fully expect Apple to win this round. The very best QC can hope for is a very limited and very specific finding in their favor on some minor point(s). Qualcomm ain't "winning" this one IMHO.
    edited March 5
  • Reply 17 of 28
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 726member
    mac_dog said:
    Whoever gets to the patent office first gets the rights. Isn’t that how the game is played?
    Not if there’s a non-disclosure or other evidence you didn’t invent that.
    Yeah, the issues would be (1) who was (or were) the actual inventor(s) and (2) did the applicant lie (e.g. about (1)) in their declaration.

    There can be joint inventors, but to the extent there are they have to be disclosed. That doesn't mean that everyone who worked on an invention or made useful suggestions has to be listed as a joint inventor. Inventorship is about conception. Who conceived the invention? (Yeah, I know, there's no vagueness in that notion.)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 28
    carnegiecarnegie Posts: 726member
    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    E-mails are hearsay, and are inadmissible except for limited purposes such as cross-examination.
    Hearsay is admissible under lots of conditions, to include when the author of an email is available to testify about it. If someone at Apple sent an email to someone at Qualcomm, they'd likely be able to testify about it and produce the email in support of their testimony.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 28
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,185unconfirmed, member
    asdasd said:

    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    E-mails are hearsay, and are inadmissible except for limited purposes such as cross-examination.
    I was surprised by this but you are correct. Apparently they aren't formal enough. 

    Apple must be fairly confident they can use these emails as evidence, though. 

    They're formal enough if the government wants you in prison.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    GrannieSmithGrannieSmith Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    flydog said:
    MplsP said:
    Well, is anyone surprised by this? It should be pretty easy to prove if they have the e-mail trail.
    E-mails are hearsay, and are inadmissible except for limited purposes such as cross-examination.
    It seems Apple and Qualcomm have a different idea of who gave whom the idea regarding the '949 patent and Qualcomm's has some same day notes memorializing the events from its CC w/Apple. Qualcomm believes these notes and related testimony are admissable evidence in their filing here https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.casd.538308/gov.uscourts.casd.538308.645.0.pdf ;

    Snip on admissability standard

    Under Fed. R. Evid. 803(6), statements recording an act or event are admissible if
    “(A) the record was made at or near the time by – or from information transmitted by – someone with knowledge;
    (B) the record was kept in the course of a regularly conducted activity of a business, organization, occupation, or calling, whether or not for profit;
    (C) making the record was a regular practice of that activity;
    (D) all these conditions are shown by the testimony of the custodian or another qualified witness; and
    (E) the opponent does not show that the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate a lack of trustworthiness.” 
     
    Snip on Background

    On February 3, 2010, Apple engineer S. Aon Mujtaba and other Apple employees requested a call with Qualcomm’s “relevant Gobi protocol experts” to discuss “the image transfer protocol from the AP to the BB.” PX0592 at 5 (Feb. 3, 2010 9:27 pm email). The request was relayed to Qualcomm’s “resident Gobi ‘image transfer protocol’ experts,” Billy Oostra and Claudia De Andrade, who, along with Qualcomm employee Ravi Soordelu, scheduled a call with Apple for 10 am on February 5, 2010. Id. at 2-3 (Feb. 4, 2010 10:35 am and 4:46 pm emails). 

    Mr. Soordelu emailed the Apple team with details of the scheduled call on February 5, 2010. PX0809 at 11 (Feb. 4, 2010 9:57 pm email). Before the call, Mr. Soordelu was asked by Jim Willkie of Qualcomm to take and “post minutes from this meeting.” PX0812. 

    Mr. Soordelu confirmed that he would, and at 7:19 pm on February 5, 2010, he sent Mr. Willkie, Mr. Oostra, Ms. De Andrade and others an email setting forth the topics discussed during the call a high level including “details on the protocol used in Gobi” and how “boot mechanism for Gobi” can be leveraged, among other things. Id. 

    In addition to the email setting out “high level topics,” Mr. Soordelu also created consistent, but more detailed, meeting minutes with the file name “2010_02_05_GobiDownloadcall.txt.” PX0066.   
    icoco3
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