ITC Judge Ruled Apple Infringed Patent, Then Did Nothing | NTK Network ITC Judge Ruled Apple Infringed Patent, Then Did Nothing

ITC Judge Ruled Apple Infringed Patent, Then Did Nothing

Apple used patented technology without paying for it, but a recent International Trade Commission ruling may let the tech giant avoid paying its due.

By NTK Staff | 10.16.2018 @1:00pm
ITC Judge Ruled Apple Infringed Patent, Then Did Nothing

A recent ruling by an administrative judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC) found that Apple infringed on a Qualcomm patent, but when it came time to enforce the rules, the judge looked the other way.

In a new piece for the Washington Times, University of Richmond Professor Kristen Osenga argues that the ITC’s ruling could have a long-lasting negative impact for technology companies if it’s allowed to stand.

Recently, an administrative law judge at the ITC ruled that Qualcomm owned a valid patent, and that Apple had infringed this patent. But the judge recommended against enforcing the patent because he believed it was more important that consumers have access to infringing Apple iPhones than it is for Qualcomm’s patent rights to be upheld, despite the ease with which Apple could have complied with the order by seamlessly substituting non-infringing iPhones, and despite the unquestionable ability of Apple — now the most valuable company in the world — to pay what it owes Qualcomm.

By giving Apple a pass here, the ITC is essentially telling innovators that they may never see a payday for the new technologies they produce. Companies, all of which are smaller than the giant Apple, dedicate vast resources to invest in these innovations. That investment is what’s at risk with this ruling:

If these companies cannot rely on patent law to protect their investments, it may result in fewer inventive technologies being developed, or even fewer companies being engaged in innovation.

In essence, the ITC judge ruled that consumers having iPhones is more important than protecting Qualcomm’s investment in innovative technology, Osenga argues. And that is a very dangerous decision that could have a far-reaching impact, if left unchecked.

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