On July 25 2019, Intel announced that it has agreed for Apple to acquire its smartphone modem business. The $1 billion deal is expected to be completed this year.

The law firms involved

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Sullivan & Cromwell (S&C) advised Intel on this deal. We understand Nader Mousavi was among the S&C lawyers involved in this transaction.


The deal strengthens Apple’s IP assets and position in the market since the iPhone maker will own “over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation”.

The news comes just a few months after Apple and Qualcomm settled their legal disputes worldwide (both parties were involved in patent disputes in jurisdictions such as China, Germany and the US*), and Intel’s announcement that it will abandon its 5G smartphone modem business. Apple uses modem chips made by Intel and Qualcomm.

Telecoms industry observers say this strategic acquisition demonstrates Apple’s desire to develop and build critical components in-house, especially at a time when companies in the industry are vying for market share/position in the next generation of wireless technology.

Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Technologies Johny Srouji said: “We’ve worked with Intel for many years and know this team shares Apple’s passion for designing technologies that deliver the world’s best experiences for our users. Apple is excited to have so many excellent engineers join our growing cellular technologies group…. They, together with our significant acquisition of innovative IP, will help expedite our development on future products and allow Apple to further differentiate moving forward.”

Some law firms in the Apple v Qualcomm patent dispute*

Qualcomm: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is a key adviser to Qualcomm on patent office and court/tribunal proceedings. Patent star Marcus Grosch is Quinn Emanuel’s lead lawyer for disputes in the EPO and German courts. In the US, Cravath Swaine & Moore also advised Qualcomm on the dispute and settlement agreement and its team featured IP stars Evan R Chesler and David J Kappos.

Apple: German patent attorney firm Samson & Partner and international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer were the key representatives for Apple and Intel in the patent disputes in the EPO and the German courts. Fish & Richardson is a key law firm for Apple in the US; IP stars Ruffin Cordell and Juanita Brooks are notable lawyers in Fish’s team for this dispute.