In a lawsuit filed two years ago, Apple sued Qualcomm, alleging that the chip supplier had broken the cooperation agreement by not paying nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebates.
Qualcomm in turn alleged that it stopped paying the rebate payments because Apple had broken the agreement by urging other smartphone makers to complain to regulators and making “false and misleading” statements to the Korean Fair Trade Commission, which was investigating Qualcomm over antitrust allegations.
Apple responded that it was making lawful responses to regulators in an ongoing investigation.
Judge Curiel sided with Apple, ruling that Qualcomm owed the missed rebate payments.
“Although the Court today did not view Apple’s conduct as a breach of Apple’s promises to Qualcomm in the 2013 Business Cooperation and Patent Agreement, the exposure of Apple’s role in these events is a welcome development,” Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, told Reuters in a statement.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, the decision will not become final until after the trial in the case, which begins next month. And it is unlikely that Qualcomm will make a new payment to Apple.