After securing an import and sales ban on iPhones in China, Qualcomm has managed to secure another iPhones sales ban. This time around, a German court has ruled that iPhones featuring an Intel modem violate a Qualcomm patent. Due to this, Apple can no longer sell the iPhone models which violate the patent in Germany.
There’s a silver lining here for Apple though. The ban does not go into effect immediately and if Apple appeals the ban, it can continue selling the iPhone models in the region. It goes without saying that Apple will appeal the decision as soon as possible.
As per the courting ruling, iPhones with Intel modem contained a chip from Qorvo which violates one of Qualcomm’s patents related to envelope tracking. The feature helps save battery life by properly negotiating with wireless networks.
“Competition authorities around the world have repeatedly found Qualcomm’s licensing practices unlawful, yet Qualcomm continues to try to achieve the same results through a campaign of patent lawsuits. These lawsuits have been largely unsuccessful, and at best would reduce innovation and raise prices,” Steven Rodgers, Intel’s general counsel, said in a statement.
This is another major victory for Qualcomm against its legal battle with Apple in as many weeks. Last week, the company secured a sales and import ban on iPhone 6s through iPhone X in China as the court found that Apple violated two of its software patents. Apple was quick to release the iOS 12.1.2 update to fix the two issues that violated the said patents, though Qualcomm says that Apple continues to violate the patents.
Update: Apple has issued a statement regarding the ban saying it will stop selling iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 variants in Germany during the appeal process. Newer iPhones like the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, however, will continue to remain on sale.
Apple said in a statement, “Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior. We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple’s 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.”