Displaying items by tag: Courts

Apple and US chipmaker Qualcomm will resume their long-running feud as a new court case between the two titans of American enterprise begins in San Diego next week.

The two companies have been embroiled in a bitter row over patent licensing practices for the best part of two years. Last month, a Californian jury ruled in favour of Qualcomm and awarded the company $31m after it found that Apple’s iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus and X infringed two patents.

Apple has expressed its confidence that this new lawsuit in San Diego will rule in their favour as they seek damages of up to $27bn after accusing its one-time supplier of engaging in patent license practices that amounted to double-dipping.

Qualcomm on the other hand are claiming that the US technology behemoth forced some of it business partners to stop paying the company royalties and is seeking $15bn in damages.

The initial lawsuit was filed by Apple back in 2017, which forced the US chipmaker to counter-sue the iPhone maker and winning bans on the sale of some iPhone models in some markets for patent violations.

Qualcomm charges its customers for the chips themselves and also adds on patent licensing charges. It asks customers to sign an agreement before supplying any products.

Apple has termed this "no licence, no chips" policy a way of charging twice for the same thing. Along with its business partners, Apple is seeking an end to this practice and a refund of something in the region of US$9 billion.

This amount could be tripled if the jury comes to the conclusion that Apple's anti-trust allegations against Qualcomm are correct. Apple claims Qualcomm's practices kept rivals like Intel - from whom Apple is now sourcing chips - from competing in this sector for a long time.

Companies that are on contract with Apple, such as Foxconn, have paid the royalties to Qualcomm and been reimbursed by Apple. But Apple has pushed some of these firms to violate their contracts and deprive Qualcomm of about US$7 billion in royalties, the chip producer claims.

A victory for Apple will not mean much in terms of money but it would destroy a business model that Qualcomm has used with great success for many years.

Published in Finance

Qualcomm awarded $31m in patent legal battle with Apple

Written on Monday, 18 March 2019 13:29

US chipmaker Qualcomm has won its protracted legal battle with Apple over patented technology used in iPhones.

A jury in a federal court in Southern California ordered that Apple pay Qualcomm $31m after deliberating that the smartphone manufacturing behemoth had committed patent infringements for chips used on iPhone 7, 8 and X models.

The damages were tabulated from July 6, 2017 through the end of the trial, according to a Qualcomm statement. The legal representative for the chipmaker expressed their delights at the jury’s decision following a lengthy judicial process.

Qualcomm’s general counsel Don Rosenberg said, “Today's unanimous jury verdict is the latest victory in our worldwide patent litigation directed at holding Apple accountable for using our valuable technologies without paying for them. 

Qualcomm shares closed the formal trading day up 2.2 percent to $56.60.

The patents at the center of the issue in the case involved "flash-less booting" that allows devices to connect quickly to the internet after being turned on and technology that lets smartphone apps move online data efficiently

A third patent related to promoting rich graphics in games while protecting battery life, according to Qualcomm.

On another front in the complex legal battle between two US companies a federal judge in Southern California on Thursday issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm owes Apple nearly a billion dollars in patent royalty rebate payments the chip maker is withholding, according to US media reports.

 Apple sued Qualcomm two years ago over the payments, which were part of a contracted arrangement. The judge's decision will be on pause until after a trial in the case. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Published in Finance

US technology colossus and global search engine giant Google has avoided paying a whopping €1.1 billion tax bill in France after a Parisian court ruled in its favour. The court’s decision was a welcome reprieve for the Californian based entity, as the ruling comes just weeks after Google was fined by the European Commission (EC).

Google’s legal row in relation to this tax bill has dragged on for six years, but a Parisian administrative tribunal ruled that Google was not liable to pay five years worth of back taxes which was being sought by France’s tax authorities. The tribunal found that Google’s advertising saes business had no taxable presence in the country.

The Wall Street has claimed that the French court’s decision could have implications for the other tax battles that Google are currently embroiled in Europe and other parts of the world. In its summary of its findings, the Parisian court concluded that Google did not illegally evade French tax by routing sales in the country through the Republic of Ireland. Google’s European headquarters is in Ireland - and they ruled that Google could not be taxed if it also has a permanent base in France.

Google reiterated its commitment to France by vowing to support the growth of its digital economy. In a statement issued by the US firm, which employs 700 people in France – they suggested that the decision by the court confirms that it abides by French tax law and international standards. The statement read, “We remain committed to France and the growth of its digital economy.”

However, France’s Minister of Public Action and Accounts, Gerald Darmanin, claimed that the tax authority may yet appeal the decision made by the administrative panel. In the meantime, the court’s decisions eased recent pressure on Google across Europe. The European Commission fined the organization €2.4 billion a fortnight ago, it said it abused its market dominance as a search engine, and illegally promoted its own shopping comparison website.

In addition to this, reports have circulated that the EU may fine Google over its Android operating system, which last year was accused of stifling innovation and market competition by the EU competition commissioner.

A number of other European countries have also attempted to claim back taxes from Google. In Spain, authorities raided Google’s offices in 2016, while the company also agreed to pay €306 million in Italian back taxes earlier this year.

Published in Finance

US government is set to intervene into the long-running saga between technology giants Apple, the EU and the Irish government. The EU ordered the iPhone maker to pay back €13 billion in taxes it claimed it owed Ireland.

However, in a bizarre turn of the events the Irish government rejected the EU’s ruling that it was owed €13 billion in back taxes and said that Apple hadn’t breached any tax laws in Ireland. The EU insisted that Apple had secured favorable tax incentives from the Irish government which amounted to illegal subsidies and issued the record tax demand against the US tech leaders.

Apple decided to take its case to Luxembourg-based General Court, which is Europe’s second highest in December in light of the ruling by the EU. The decision by the EU was heavily criticized by the Obama administration which alleged that the EU was attempting to help itself to cash that should have ended up in the US.

The Trump administration has subsequently proposed a tax break on $2.6 trillion in corporate profits being held offshore as part of its own tax reform, although it has not stated anything in public in relation to Apple’s tax row with the EU.

A source close to the case that who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed that the US had filed an application with the EU in relation to the long-running saga between Apple and EU decision-makers. The source said, “I can confirm the United States filed an application with the European Union General Court to intervene in the case involving the retroactive application of state aid rules to Apple.”

It has also been reported that The General Court will deal with the case in late 2018, although that has not been officially confirmed. Apple firmly believes that it is a convenient target for the EU and that EU competition enforcer used an ‘absurd theory in coming with the punitive figure. Other companies currently embroiled with the EU in relation to tax issues in Luxembourg are Amazon and McDonalds.

Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Starbucks, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and several other companies that were also ordered to pay back taxes to other EU countries have similarly challenged their EU rulings.

Published in Government

Social networking giant Facebook has been ordered by an Austrian court that it must control the issue of ‘trolling’ on its platform following a case which was brought forward by a political party in the country. Austria’s Green party where outraged at the vitriol directed at its leader – and demanded that Facebook take responsibility for the platform being used to spread hate. However, the ruling is now set to have international ramifications as the ruling said that ‘hate postings’ must be deleted all across the social network platform – and not just in Austria.

The court comes on the back of a movement by legislators currently attempting to find ways of forcing companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and others to remove hate speech or incitement to violence in a much more rapid way. Germany’s cabinet recently approved an initiative to fine social networks up to €50m if they fail to react quickly enough to such negative postings posted online – and the European Union is considering new EU-wide rules.

Facebook’s legal representatives in Vienna have thus far declined to comment on the ruling by the Austrian court which was announced publicly the Green party, which was subsequently confirmed by a court spokesman. The Viennese appeals court ruled that Facebook must remove the hate postings which have been aimed at Eva Glawischnig, and said that merely removing them in Austria without them being deleted abroad would not suffice.

The court claimed that Facebook has the capabilities available to them to automate this process. It did concede that the social media colossus could not be expected to trawl through content to find posts that are similar, rather than identical to posts already identified as hate speech. The Greens have indicated that they intend to have the ruling strengthened at Austria’s highest court. One of their demands is to identify holders of bogus accounts. In addition to this, the political party has also requested that Facebook pay damages, which would make it easier for individuals in similar cases to take the financial risk of taking legal action.

"Facebook must put up with the accusation that it is the world's biggest platform for hate and that it is doing nothing against this," said Green parliamentarian Dieter Brosz. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said hate speech has no place on the platform and the company has published a policy paper on how it wants to work against false news.

Published in Apps