The US International Trade Commission guided against imposing an exclusion order on Apple iPhones, as part of its ongoing probe into the vendor’s patent dispute with Qualcomm.

Thomas Pender, an administrative law judge for the organisation, wrote that “statutory public interest factors weigh against issuing a limited exclusion order”, which would impact the sale of devices using certain technology from Qualcomm.

Pender’s missive said Apple had infringed one US patent, with claims regarding two others not upheld. This was in line with an earlier ITC finding from this year.

Billing the outcome as a positive for Apple, The Wall Street Journal said the decision will be reviewed by a full ITC commission, which can either accept the determination or modify it. It noted that Don Rosenberg, general counsel at Qualcomm, had said that while the infringement ruling was positive, “it makes no sense to then allow infringement to continue by denying an import ban”.

Qualcomm filed its complaints with the ITC in the middle of 2017, as part of a still-ongoing spat between the two which has only become more fierce. It started in January 2017, when Apple questioned Qualcomm’s royalty regime, which sees costs calculated on final device prices rather than on a component basis.