U.S. Trade Judge Rules Apple Infringed on Qualcomm Patent, Recommends Ban on Some iPhone Models [Updated]

Apple and Qualcomm are currently tied up in court as Qualcomm tries to nail down patent infringements made by Apple.

Update: Apple did not run afoul of the same judge in the second ruling handed down today. The same judge ruled that Apple did not infringe upon a Qualcomm patent related to power management. This is the second of three patents being seen in this case. Unfortunately for Apple, this second ruling does not impact the first at all.

The original article continues below.

Of course, the proceedings have not necessarily been civil, as the two companies go back-and-forth trying to win the day. And while Apple has seen some movement in its direction in the past, the latest ruling from a trade judge in the United States is decidedly in Qualcomm’s favor. As was first reported on Tuesday by Bloomberg, International Trade Commission Judge MaryJoan McNamara has ruled against Apple, saying that the company has indeed infringed upon a patent held by Qualcomm.

The judge ruled in favor of Qualcomm as it relates to just one of the three patents that are put against the ITC court. At the time of publication, Apple has yet to comment on the ruling, but it’s likely the company will soon enough. What’s more, while Judge MaryJoan McNamara has recommended a sales ban on certain iPhone models in the United States, it is likely that the decision will have to be reviewed before any ban is actually set against Apple.

It is also likely that the decision will only impact older iPhone models, and won’t have any connection to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or the iPhone XR.

This is not the first time that this particular court battle has resulted in this outcome. In China, Apple was hit with a sales ban. However, that particular patent infringement case dealt with software and not hardware. As a result, Apple updated iOS to address the issue and circumvent any sales ban in that region.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Apple was hit with a sales ban that definitely went into effect. However, Apple is going to sell iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models with a Qualcomm chip inside to bypass that sales ban in that country.

Whether or not this sales ban in the U.S. actually sticks, or if Apple makes changes to address it ahead of time, remains to be seen.

Our Take

This is a fight that is not going to end anytime soon, even if both companies would probably like it to. Still, it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out in the future, and what that means for the relationship between Apple and Qualcomm when the dust settles.

We Want To Hear From You

Do you think Apple and Qualcomm will come to amicable terms when this all ends? Or will the two no longer be working together in the future?

[via Bloomberg]