Monday, November 6, 2017

Case of the Day: Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145835 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 7, 2017)


Apple sued Qualcomm in the Southern District of California as well as in a number of countries, including Japan, China, Taiwan and UK, alleging essentially that Qualcomm refused to offer a fair licensing deal for the Qualcomm's patents that set the 3G and 4G cellular communication standards. In response, Qualcomm filed for an anti-suit injunction as to all foreign actions.

The court denied the motion. The court found the U.S. litigation would not dispose of the foreign actions because there were no identity of issues. The court also found Apple and Qualcomm had no contractual relationship, which made inapplicable Microsoft Corp. v. Motorola, Inc., 696 F.3d 872 (9th Cir. 2012), in which the Ninth Circuit granted the anti-suit injunction. The court further found the foreign actions were not vexatious or threatening to its jurisdiction, or otherwise frustrate the home forum's public policy.


As telecom industry becomes even more global, it is pushing all of the private international law devices in the U.S. civil procedure to a breaking point. Wisely, the court here backed off perhaps the most controversial device in the U.S. private international law. But Qualcomm's attorneys (an all-star team made up of Quinn Emanuel, Cravath Swain & Moore and Jones Day) were right to try the tack. How much longer before an adventurous U.S. court wreaks a global havoc in the telecom industry with an anti-suit injunction?

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