Update: Qualcomm Rocks Apple's Core With Court-Ordered iPhone Ban In Germany
Qualcomm is looking to box Apple in with regards to the ongoing legal battle between the two companies. Earlier this month, Qualcomm won an injunction in China, which should have resulted in an import/sales ban on every iPhone made dating back to the iPhone 6S/iPhone 6S Plus. However, Apple has largely ignored that ruling, saying that a new iOS 12 update provides a workaround for the two Qualcomm patents in question.
Today, however, Apple was dealt another blow, this time in a German court. In this latest chapter in the legal drama, Qualcomm successfully argued that 4G LTE modems produced by Intel and components produced by Qorvo for the iPhone infringe upon its patents. According to CNBC, the patents in question deal with "envelope tracking", which is way for a smartphone to conserve power while transmitting and receiving wireless signals.
Because of this latest injunction, Apple is currently prevented from selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in Germany. These are two of Apple's lower-cost iPhones, so this could be a big blow in the company's efforts to address German customers looking for an entry-level smartphone. Luckily for Apple, its higher-margin iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR are not affected by the injunction.
"Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies," said Apple. "Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers."
Apple went on to add, "Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn't do."
For its part, in a blog entitled "Another Attempt to Stifle Competition", Intel executive vice president and general counsel Steven R. Rodgers also blasted Qualcomm. "Qualcomm's goal is not to vindicate its intellectual property rights, but rather to drive competition out of the market for premium modem chips, and to defend a business model that ultimately harms consumers," said Rodgers.
"Qualcomm's litigation campaign notwithstanding, we hope that these actions by global competition authorities help preserve competition in the premium modem chip market, to the benefit of equipment makers and consumers everywhere."
Apple says that it will appeal this latest ruling.
Updated 12/20/2018 @ 1:40pm EST
Qualcomm has provided the following commentary with regards to this latest development: “Two respected courts in two different jurisdictions just in the past two weeks have now confirmed the value of Qualcomm’s patents and declared Apple an infringer, ordering a ban on iPhones in the important markets of Germany and China,” said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel, Qualcomm.