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Apple accuses Qualcomm of tampering with star witness in patent trial

A key witness in Apple's patent trial against Qualcomm is no longer helping the iPhone maker, Apple confirmed on Thursday, with engineer Arjuna Siva no longer scheduled to testify at the trial putting a dent into the company's case against the chip producer.

Arjuna Siva a former engineer for Apple, was supposed to be testifying on behalf of the company in its current Qualcomm trial, under the argument Siva should be named as co-inventor on one of the patents under dispute. In a dramatic turn of events, Siva is no longer going to be taking to the stand.

Apple counsel Juanita Brooks advised to CNet on Thursday of the sudden change, with Siva said to be retaining new counsel that has advised him not to answer questions from Apple itself. While Siva is not intending to take part in the trial, Brooks notes he will still testify if subpoenaed, but the chances of that happening are quite low.

It is unclear exactly why Siva is no longer helping Apple, but it is noted by Brooks that Siva's new counsel is a former partner of Quinn Emanuel, the law firm working to represent Qualcomm. Brooks has accused Qualcomm of witness tampering and advised Apple has no intention of calling Siva to speak, declaring "He's a tainted witness."

Quinn Emanuel's David Nelson, acting as Qualcomm's counsel, denied the tampering claim to Judge Sabraw. "I don't get angry very often," Nelson asserted. "I lead this team. I consider this a personal attack."

Judge Sabraw responded advising the court would continue to look into the sudden events, but told Nelson "There's no indication that you or anyone at Qualcomm has anything to do with this."

Siva was originally meant to be testifying over his involvement in the creation of U.S. Patent No. 8,838,949, titled "Direct scatter loading of executable software image from a primary processor to one or more secondary processor in a multi-processor system." It was claimed on Monday that the Qualcomm-owned patent should have given some credit to Siva, as he apparently spawned the idea and discussed it with his counterparts at Qualcomm over email.

Qualcomm disputes the allegation, with one of the named inventors claiming Siva did "nothing at all" to contribute to the patent.