What happened

Even by the standards of Monday's robust bull market, Qualcomm (QCOM -2.19%) stock did well. The big connectivity tech specialist's stock bounced nearly 4% higher, edging past the S&P 500's 2.6% gain on the day. A win at the very top of the U.S. legal pyramid was a major reason for the pop.

So what

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Apple's (AAPL 0.86%) appeal of a lower court ruling on the company's patent infringement dispute with Qualcomm. As Apple has no higher court to turn to, the case is effectively dead in the water.

The legal fight between the two tech companies dates from a 2017 lawsuit filed by Qualcomm. The suit -- filed in a federal court in California, the home of both businesses -- alleged that Apple infringed a set of Qualcomm patents with its iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.

Although the companies settled much of their dispute in a comprehensive agreement signed in 2019, Apple continued to challenge the validity of two of its counterpart's patents. In 2021, this was struck down by a federal appeals court; Apple subsequently attempted to revive the case at the Supreme Court.

Now what

Neither Qualcomm nor Apple has commented officially on the Supreme Court's action, and they're not likely to. Qualcomm chips continue to be packed into Apple devices, so the two companies have a vested interest in not highlighting their legal spats.

Regardless, this is a clear win for Qualcomm, and gives the busy specialty tech company one less distraction from its business -- which remains robust, thanks in no small part to Apple.