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China's Supreme Court Endorses Landmark Preliminary Injunctions LexField Won in Qualcomm v. Apple

DATE:2020-06-10      FROM:LexField

By Alex Liang


The Supreme People's Court of China (the "SPC"),in its 2020 Annual Work Report submitted to the National People's Congress on May 25, specifically praised the court of the Fujian Province for its "proper" handling of the serial cases between Qualcomm and Apple in China.  The Qualcomm v. Apple cases in Fujian were famous for the two preliminary injunctions LexField won for Qualcomm against Apple, in which the court ordered Apple to cease its patent infringing activities, including importation, sale, and offers for sale in China of almost all current models of iPhones.


Qualcomm's victory in securing the preliminary injunctions reflected key contributions from LexField's top-notch patent litigation team, led by senior partner Hongyi Jiang.  The team oversaw the strategy of Qualcomm's 32 patent infringement cases in China against Apple and directly handled 23 of them, in concert with litigations in other jurisdictions.


The two preliminary injunctions had global repercussions in the ICT industry.  The injunctions were the first ones in the global patent war between Qualcomm and Apple, and as pointed out in the Annual Work Report, the injunctions helped bring about the global settlement between the two companies.  Qualcomm's market cap rose more than 30 billion USD over the news of this favorable settlement.


This official endorsement by the SPC shows that Chinese courts will not shy away from making consequential decisions in high-profile cases with the clear awareness that their rulings would have a global impact.  The Annual Work Report also notes that China has one of the shortest litigation timeframes for patent cases among worldwide jurisdictions.  The endorsement is in line with its long-stated policy goal to establish Chinese courts as one of the go-to forums for multinationals to resolve their global patent disputes.  All such display of confidence by Chinese courts and the fast speed of adjudication should be noted by potential patent plaintiffs and defendants worldwide in their patent portfolio buildup and litigation planning, especially given China's market size and status in global supply chains.


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