“A U.S. federal judge has issued a preliminary ruling that Qualcomm Inc owes Apple Inc nearly $1 billion in patent royalty rebate payments, though the decision is unlikely to result in Qualcomm writing a check to Apple because of other developments in the dispute,” Stephen Nellis reports for Reuters.

“Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Thursday ruled that Qualcomm, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips, was obligated to pay nearly $1 billion in rebate payments to Apple,” Nellis reports. “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.”

“Apple’s contract factories, which under normal circumstances would pay Qualcomm for patent royalties owed on iPhones, have already withheld the nearly $1 billion in payments to Qualcomm. Qualcomm’s [executive vice president and general counsel Donald] Rosenberg said those withheld iPhone payments have already been accounted for in Qualcomm’s existing financial statements,” Nellis reports. “‘Apple has already offset the payment at issue under the agreement against royalties that were owed to Qualcomm,’ Qualcomm’s Rosenberg told Reuters.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Qualcomm’s Don Rosenberg enjoying his morning coffee:

[UPDATE: 3:30pm EDT: FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller says this is actually a multibillion-dollar win for Apple, not just a ruling for “nearly $1 billion.”]

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