Qualcomm received a boost in a bid to secure an import ban on certain iPhones in the US after representatives of the International Trade Commission (ITC) backed its claim that Apple infringed at least one patent.
Reuters reported ITC staff recommended that a judge finds Apple guilty of violating one of Qualcomm’s patents around battery saving technology.
The trial, which started on 15 June, relates to a complaint filed by Qualcomm against Apple in July 2017, asking for the commission to ban the import of certain iPhones containing modem chips made by its rival Intel.
Apple used Qualcomm chips exclusively on its iPhones until 2016, when it also deployed Intel chips on its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In the recently launched iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, it uses a mix of both.
Reuters added the ITC staff act as third parties in such trade cases and while their opinions are not binding, judges often follow them.
Qualcomm requested the import ban, alleging the devices infringed up to six patents. In addition to battery saving features, Qualcomm said Apple infringed on patents designed to improve efficiency of the devices and sought a ban on the sale of iPhones using cellular baseband processors other than those supplied by Qualcomm affiliates.
Apple maintained Qualcomm’s claims have no merit, arguing a ban on iPhones using Intel components would give Qualcomm a monopoly on modems in the US.
A court decision is expected in January.
The import battle is one of many ongoing disputes between Apple and Qualcomm, which have become embroiled in several long-running legal spats regarding royalty payments and licensing terms.
Apple is reportedly now developing devices bypassing Qualcomm technology altogether. Over the past year, Qualcomm has also raised action against iPhone imports in China and Germany.