“In 2017, Qualcomm filed two ITC complaints (requests for U.S. import bans) against Apple,” Florian Mueller writes for FOSS Patents. “In the earlier-filed case, a final determination by the Commission (the six-member decision-making body at the top of the U.S. trade agency with quasi-judicial authority) is due at 5 PM Eastern Time today, and the outcome of that one will be inconsequential as Apple has already worked around the sole remaining patent-in-suit. ”

“What’s not so clear right now is whether Qualcomm may or may not gain leverage from the later-filed case,” Mueller writes. “In that one, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) MaryJoan McNamara just announced an initial determination (‘initial’ means the parties can seek a Commission review, and a final ruling is still four months off) according to which Apple is deemed to infringe one of three Qualcomm patents-in-suit.”

“Should the Commission affirm the ALJ’s decision and adopt the recommendation to issue an import ban despite concerns over the anticompetitive implications of doing so, the President of the United States (who typically delegates this authority to the U.S. Trade Representative) could still veto an import ban,” Mueller writes. “Also, there would be an appeal, and the Federal Circuit could stay enforcement for the duration of the appeal. And an antisuit injunction motion that a consumer class brought last year — but which was deemed premature at the time — could still succeed after the Presidential review.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Lots of question marks here. We’ll see what happens next. As Mueller says in his full article, the patent in question (multiple supply-voltage power-up/down detectors) is “likely invalid” regardless of Judge McNamara’s initial determination.