Germany bans some iPhone sales

Germany bans some iPhone sales

Apple will reportedly stop selling older iPhones in Germany after a local court ruled that the company's products had infringed on a Qualcomm patent.

The patent at the center of the dispute in Germany covers power management for communications chipsets, something that Apple may not be able to address with a simple software update.

At the heart of the dispute in the German case are chips made by one of Apple's suppliers used in iPhones, with both parties at loggerheads on how the chips actually work, said the court.

According to Qualcomm's United States lawsuit, Apple's goal was to buy mobile chips from Intel instead of depending on Qualcomm. This is somewhat odd as there is no legal requirement to do so, which means that Apple might be hoping to limit bigger damages bill later by imposing its ban. This is the second major win for Qualcomm against Apple after a Chinese court granted an injunction against Apple for an alleged patent violation on December 10. Qualcomm shares were down 0.2% at $56.69.

The sales haven't yet been banned, as Qualcomm says the injuction will be in effect as soon as it posts the required bonds, which will take "a few days", apparently. Because if Internet sleuths are correct, the chip maker might find itself in even deeper trouble than before.

Apple said it plans to appeal the ruling, but that is its standard legal tactic.


Apple said the iPhone X, which was also mentioned in the verdict, has since been replaced by a newer model. The company noted, however, that all iPhone models remain available from cellphone carriers and resellers in the country. They can be sold by third-party retailers, however, and all other models are unaffected. Additionally, the newer iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR models will still be sold in Germany.

Thus, the German court refused to allow Qualcomm to use this information.

But pressing forward with enforcement presents some risks for Qualcomm.

Mike Baker, Qorvo's chief intellectual property counsel, said in a statement that USA trade regulators had ruled that Qorvo's chips did not violate the US version of Qualcomm's patent and that the chip's inventor wasn't allowed to testify at the German hearing. Meanwhile, Apple is naturally appealing the injunction. The analyst claims that the iPhone XR production orders could be reduced by as much as 2.5 million units with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max seeing cuts of 1 million and 500,000 units respectively. In response, Qualcomm sued to get an iPhone import ban in America.

This is the second time Apple will be cutting its iPhones production.

Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies.

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