Lawyers for Qualcomm and Apple faced off in a San Diego courtroom on Friday. It was the first major hearing in a multibillion-dollar antitrust lawsuit accusing Qualcomm of charging royalties for features that are not covered by its patents.
The suit is one of 11 that Apple has brought against Qualcomm in five countries, alleging that the chipmaker improperly charges smartphone manufacturers a licensing fee on top of payments for the chips themselves.
If that’s the case, August 18’s hearing was the first round in what could be a whale of a prize fight. Multiple in-house counsel from each firm ringed the audience along with heavyweight partners from Boies Schiller Flexner and Fish & Richardson for Apple; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher for Apple’s Qualcomm manufacturers; and Cravath and Jones Day for Qualcomm.
“As you can see by the number of lawyers in the room, this is a complex case,” said Gibson Dunn’s Nicola Hanna, in one of the few understatements of the day.
Apple stopped paying Qualcomm earlier this year, leading to a decline in its profits. Qualcomm argued Friday that the suit has inspired another top manufacturer to stop royalty payments as well.
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