Qualcomm Says Apple Violating Court Order By Continuing to Sell iPhones in China Despite iOS 12.1.1

Last week after Qualcomm managed to get the Chinese patent court to ban the sales and import of iPhones in China, Apple announced that it would roll out a software update this week to circumvent the two software-related patents it was found to be violating.

The two patents related to the way applications are managed on a smartphone and how photos are resized. The violation of these two patents was good enough for the Chinese patent court to hand out a sales and import ban on iPhone 6s through iPhone X.

To avoid any major loss to its business, Apple was quick to address this issue with the iOS 12.1.2 update released today. However, Qualcomm still believes that Apple continues to violate the two patents in question and the court ruling. The chip maker says that Apple is downplaying the ruling and flouting the legal system by violating the injunction.

“Despite Apple’s efforts to downplay the significance of the order and its claims of various ways it will address the infringement, Apple apparently continues to flout the legal system by violating the injunctions,” Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, told Reuters in a statement on Monday.

Soon after the ruling, Apple said the ban was only on devices running iOS 11. However, as per court documents provided by Qualcomm, there’s no word of any specific iOS release in the injunction. This ideally means that the ban also applies to 2018 iPhones which launched with iOS 12 out of the box.

Despite the sales ban, Apple continues to sell iPhones in China since it has not received any explicit order from the Chinese court to not do otherwise. Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm’s general counsel, says that this is a violation of the court order since Apple is legally obligated to stop selling iPhone 6s through iPhone X in China for compliance purposes.

“They are legally obligated to immediately cease sales, offers for sale and importation of the devices identified in the orders and to prove compliance in court,” Rosenberg told Reuters in Dec. 14 in a statement.

Our Take

Getting a sales ban on the iPhone 6s through iPhone X is a major win for Qualcomm in its ongoing tussle with Apple and the company is trying to ensure Apple complies with the court order as it would lead to some serious business loss. Apple has even said in its court filing that the sales ban will force it to settle matters with Qualcomm which will not be good for the entire smartphone industry.

Since this is a major win for Qualcomm, the chip maker is likely to try its best to ensure the ban is put into effect as it would give it an upper hand in settlement talks with Apple.

[Via Reuters]