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Tariff Abuse Will Only Hinder Intellectual Property Enforcement

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Now approaching two years old, the epic legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm has morphed into a 21st century Hatfield-McCoy feud for tech observers. Apple accuses Qualcomm of enforcing an all-encompassing, onerous licensing system outside the confines of normal patent law. Qualcomm accuses Apple of refusing to pay for intellectual property (IP) and illegally sharing proprietary data with competitors such as Intel.

This costly battle has dragged into 2019, as trade bodies both in the United States and abroad try to get to the bottom of the blame game and assign appropriate remedies. Continued trade uncertainty and the possibility of company-imposed “tariffs” will hurt consumers and companies, and lead to less deployment of revolutionary 5G technology. Federal agencies refereeing the dispute must make clear that damages, not trade barriers, are the appropriate remedy to consider in battles over intellectual property (IP).

To untangle the tricky, costly legal battle gripping the two tech giants, it’s important to understand why the two companies do business in the first place. For the past several years, Apple has relied on Qualcomm for cellular chips that enable internet access. Qualcomm is a top player in the chipmaking game, and recently announced that it will........

© Townhall