An extensive review of the holdings of any business or company in Los Angeles might reveal that its most valued assets are its intellectual properties. An organization’s intellectual property includes its intangible creative creations, which serve as the proverbial “secret sauce” which not only powers its products and ideas but also distinguishes it from competitors. However, when companies enter into collaborative efforts with other organizations, some elements of their IP may need to be exposed. However, simply because they are revealed to external parties does not mean that those parties may disclose them without authorization.
When that happens, cases such as the current feud between Qualcomm and Apple are the result. While the companies have been at odds for years, the latest development in their dispute involves accusations coming from Qualcomm that Apple shared some of the company’s source code (which is used to drive the chips it provides to Apple to use in its iPhones) with Intel, one of Qualcomm’s main competitors (Intel also supplies chips to Apple). In a similar action, Qualcomm has also sued Apple for not allowing the company to audit the uses of its source code with Apple’s other corporate partners. Apple has countered Qualcomm’s claims by saying that the company is illegally trying to demand patent royalties on the sale of devices containing its chips.
Qualcomm’s concern in this case may be understandable; a competitor knowing a company’s proprietary information could have a devastating impact on its ability to compete in its market. Companies facing similar disclosures by partners might also react by initiating legal action. Such action’s chances for success may be bolstered if a company has an attorney that is experienced in intellectual property matters on its side.