International Trade Commission to Investigate Apple for Patent Infringement
by Daniel Newman | August 15, 2017
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Last week Qualcomm received a positive response from the International Trade Commission (ITC) regarding claims that Apple may be in violation of several Qualcomm patents pertaining to some iPhone Models. The ITC has decided to investigate.

This decision, one of many relating to the ongoing dispute taking place between the iPhone maker and Qualcomm, is an important one, as the ITC tends to move their investigations along faster than the courts, and their decision will likely have an impact on coinciding rulings in the U.S. courts and other courts around the world.

In addition to the request for the ITC to consider these patent violations, Qualcomm also is seeking for the ITC to issue a Limited Exclusion Order and a Cease and Desist order that will effectively ban the importation and sales of affected iPhones and iPad devices in the US until the investigation has determined whether or not Apple is, in fact, guilty of patent infringement.

While many media outlets are downplaying the ITC’s decision to investigate this case, I believe this decision is important or two reasons: First, it shows that the ITC sees merit in the filing. Second, it highlights a critical aspect of the ongoing dispute between Apple and Qualcomm that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves: companies that make critical investments in invention and innovation must be protected from larger companies that benefit from either minimizing the importance of these contributions or selectively ignoring inventors’ IP protections altogether when it suits them. Whatever the outcome of the case, the ITC’s decision to investigate is a move in the right direction.

Bear in mind that the ITC’s investigation is just one step in a process that may take up to 18 months, so this is nowhere close to over. From a big picture perspective, I can’t iterate enough how important the Qualcomm vs Apple dispute is to the future of innovation and business competition in the United States and around the world. With IoT and Mobile innovation driving the future of how we live, work, and communicate, any ruling that minimizes the rights of inventors to protect their investments in innovation and allows large companies to trample on smaller companies’ IP rights won’t only bad for inventors, it will trigger a disastrous set of anticompetitive ripple effects that will be felt across the entire business world, and will jeopardize the future of innovation everywhere.

For more on the ongoing Apple Qualcomm Dispute visit our other stories:

Asleep At The Wheel: Lazy Journalism and The Apple vs Qualcomm Dispute 
Qualcomm Fights Back: Defending The Future of Innovation and IP Laws
The Stakes Are High: What is Going on with the Apple and Qualcomm Dispute? 
What Apple Didn’t Talk About During its May 2 Earnings Call

Disclosure: Futurum Research, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided research, analysis, advising, and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the tech and digital industries. The firm does not hold any equity positions with any other companies cited in this column.

Photo Credit: joe.ross Flickr via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman