April 23, 2019
After Apple moved to Intel chips in 2017, Qualcomm swiftly tried to get injunctions against iPhones on grounds of patent infringement. However, having been subsequently embroiled in litigation and PTAB proceedings akin to the peak of the so-called “Smartphone Wars”, this fight is ending with Qualcomm as the victor. Apple will be making payments to Qualcomm and has entered an agreement to both a patent license and chip supply.
Why it Matters
The Apple/Qualcomm relationship turned frosty when Apple disputed the royalties being charged by the chip maker, which may have even led to the switch to Intel’s tech instead. However, with Intel not wishing to enter the 5G phone business, Apple was seemingly left with nowhere to turn and had to make amends with their previous supplier, giving Qualcomm major market dominance with licenses to Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and every other major Chinese smartphone maker.
Avanci’s rate of signings to their IOT/Auto patent licensing platform has been rather slow. After launching in 2016, getting BMW onboard in 2017 was their first major signing in from the automotive industry, although the deal was actually handled through their telematics division which hints that it may be more strongly tied to commercial vehicles. However, the new signing with VW group members announced last week is more likely to be aimed at consumer-focused tech in the auto sector.
Why it Matters
Signing two of the largest brands from the VW group could be a signal of things to come for other group members, with this acting as something of a “trial”. The news also comes as Nokia (an Avanci member) is in litigation with Daimler. It may be that VW sought group membership as a way of avoiding this, while Daimler is fighting it head on, but either way, it signals the benefits of being in a pool with a major player in automotive connectivity like Nokia.