Qualcomm calls on regulators to impose an import ban on some iPhone models

A Qualcomm booth at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

The chip maker Qualcomm, engaged in a fierce battle with the technology giant Apple who has not yet been tried, asks the US trade authorities to reconsider a court decision and ban the import of some iPhones Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Qualcomm originally brought the case before the US International Trade Commission in 2017, alleging that several Apple iOS features violated its patents and that it owed him $ 7 billion in royalties and copyrights. Licence. As Reuters noted, Thomas Pender, the ITC's administrative law judge, concluded that Apple had violated patents, but had refused to ban "some older iPhone models containing Intel Corp. chips, "which would give Qualcomm an unfair advantage in the US mobile chip market. However, Qualcomm has obtained a partial ban in Germany and China.

According to AppleInsider, the dispute is about the energy saving techniques of wireless modems. Apple recently revealed it had corrected its software so that one of the patent disputes became a moot point, AppleInsider stating that it was deployed in iOS 12.1 (late October 2018).

Any ban is unlikely to have serious long-term consequences for Apple, said Reuters, as the company requires six months to demonstrate that the fix is ​​functional:

Any possible ban on importing iPhone to the US could be short-lived because Apple has revealed for the first time that it has found a hotfix that avoids infringing any of the patents from Qualcomm. Apple has asked regulators to give it up to six months to prove that the fix works.

… Cases where the ITC finds patent infringements without prohibiting the importation of products are rare. In December, the full ITC announced that it would review Pender's decision and decide to maintain or overturn it by the end of March.

Qualcomm, for its part, argues before the courts that the Apple patch had been put in place, while Apple had insisted that it was impossible to correct, which could have influenced the earlier decision of Pender. He also asks the court to dismiss Apple's claim for a six-month delay if a ban should be imposed, according to AppleInsider.

Conversely, Apple insists that Qualcomm's patent licensing practices are illegal – a dispute is already settled in the separate legal battle between Qualcomm and the Federal Trade Commission, which has not yet led to a verdict. Both companies will go on trial in April, while meeting Apple's deadline for resolving the issue and likely after the end of the FTC proceedings.


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