If Patents Don’t Do It, File a Trade Secret Lawsuit

The patent fight between can hardly been escaped to anyone’s attention. The patent disputes involve both Standard Essential Patents as well as Implementation Patents. It involves FRAND and arguments about what qualifies as “fair and reasonable”. It involves the thorny question of whether the ASP of the product should be the starting point for any FRAND calculation. It involves Qualcomm’s refusal to license its IP to other chip-set manufacturers (including other chip set suppliers to Apple) and only license to handset manufacturers further up the  value chain, plus much more. This patent dispute is global in nature involving litigation in China, USA, the UK and elsewhere

Well this heavy weight fight now enters new territory as Qualcomm now accuses Apple of trade secret theft.

https://www.cnet.com/news/qualcomm-apple-intel-iphone-software-lawsuit-chips-breach-of-contract/

This is an interesting new development but not entirely unexpected given that the US now has a powerful Federal trade secret law in place, the Defend Trade Secret Act, a law that packs some punch thanks to being tied to Racketeering and the RICO Act.

In fact I was asked recently about when I thought trade secrets would become an issue in this dispute

Will this be a game changer in this particular fight? It may or may not be.  However, it shows that just like in the Google vs Uber IP dispute, trade secrets are now one form of IP that needs to be seriously considered.

That’s why IPEG organizes a Deep Dive Workshop at Philips HQ in January 2018. The date has yet to be established. If you are interested to receive an invitation email us at info@ipeg.com

Donal O’Connell
photo: Ines Ferreira (Unsplash)
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