Apple suffers second iPhone setback - Mobile World Live

Apple suffers second iPhone setback

20 DEC 2018

Apple was hit by a second ban on iPhone sales in as many weeks after failing to convince a German court it does not infringe on a key Qualcomm patent.

Despite reportedly making changes to its iPhone software in the country in an attempt to garner a favourable decision, a regional court in Munich was unconvinced, banning the import and sale of devices it ruled infringe on Qualcomm’s power saving technology for smartphones.

The judgement will be enforceable once Qualcomm posts funds which would cover potential damages incurred by Apple should the ruling be overturned or amended following an appeal.

Qualcomm said the fund transfer will be completed “within a few days”.

A request from Apple to postpone the ban was denied. In a statement to Reuters, the vendor said it was disappointed by the German court’s ruling and plans to appeal the decision.

During the appeal process, it said its iPhone 7 and 8 models will not be sold at its 15 retail locations in the country, though later generations including the XS, XS Max, and XR, will remain available.

The court also granted a Qualcomm request to have Apple provide records detailing all sales, revenue and profits associated with the infringing devices in Germany, and recall and destroy all accused devices from all retailers in the country.

Ongoing fight
The ban is the second on Apple’s smartphones after a preliminary injuction issued by a Chinese court last week. Apple released a software update for its iPhone operating system to skirt the Chinese ban, though it is unclear if this was successful.

Don Rosenberg, EVP and general counsel at Qualcomm, said in a statement the Chinese and German court rulings confirm “the value of Qualcomm’s patents and declared Apple an infringer”.

In its statement to Reuters, Apple said Qualcomm’s bids to ban iPhone sales are an attempt to distract from a series of ongoing patent spats between the companies. It reiterated criticism of the chipmaker’s pricing policy, which it said is subject of investigation by multiple governments.

Qualcomm is also pursuing an iPhone ban in the US.

As of October, Qualcomm said Apple was $7 billion behind on royalty payments for the use of its patented technologies.



Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

Read more