San Diego federal court sets Apple and Qualcomm trial for April 15th as settlements are unlikely

With settlement between Apple and Qualcomm looking unlikely at this point, the trial for Qualcomm long legal war has been set to begin April 15 in San Diego federal court. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel scheduled the trial at a hearing Friday. Though Qualcomm had sought to begin the trial in February, Curiel said the April date was needed to accommodate the court’s schedule.

He also noted that the complexity of the litigation and the prominence to the Qualcomm and Apple require more time. Earlier this week, Qualcomm Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf said that the San Diego cellular technology firm was “on the doorstep of finding a resolution” to the dispute with Apple. However, Apple attorney William Isaacson told Curiel on Friday that a settlement wasn’t in the cards.

Since early 2017, Qualcomm and Apple have been waging a wide-ranging legal war over royalties that Qualcomm charges for use of its patented cellular technology. As for Apple, it no longer pays royalties to Qualcomm and has also ditched using Qualcomm chips from the latest iPhone models. Qualcomm has sought to ban iPhone imports in the U.S., Germany, and China.

It also has accused Apple of stealing trade secrets and supplying them to rival Intel. According to Apple, Qualcomm is getting paid twice for its intellectual property – once when it licenses its patent portfolio and a second time when it sells cellular modem chips. However, Qualcomm says there is nothing illegal about its business practices. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued Qualcomm for antitrust violations along similar lines as the Apple lawsuit.

The trial in the FTC’s antitrust case is scheduled for Jan. 4 in U.S. District Court in San Jose. The outcome of that trial could play a role in the San Diego federal case. Qualcomm and the FTC have both said they are pursuing a settlement.