The stakes in the ongoing legal drama between Apple and Qualcomm are getting higher. Earlier this week, a Chinese court sided with Qualcomm, imposing an import and sales ban on Apple products ranging from the iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus on through to the iPhone X. The basis for the preliminary injunction was that Apple infringed upon two Qualcomm patents.
Qualcomm is now going for the throat, and is asking Chinese courts to ban the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. These represent Apple's most recent iPhones, and according to Apple's own figures, the iPhone XR is currently the company's best-selling smartphone.
Qualcomm is looking to use the same two patents that it used to win its earlier injunction against the 2018 family of iPhones. According to IAM-Media, those patents include:
- CN1951093B: “Mobile terminal with ergonomic imaging functions and method”
- CN102099776B: “Card metaphor for activities in a computing device”
The first refers to "Changing the display attribute or attributes may comprise a plurality of resizing, cropping and / or rotating an image." The second patent, on the other hand, describes "any number of display modes which may be employed to view the card, to interact with the card, the card manipulation, starting cards and disengaged." If we dispense with the technical jargon, we're basically talking about patents that relate to resizing photographs and navigating around a smartphone's UI.
“We plan to use the same patents to file suit against the three new iPhone models,” said Jiang Hongyi, who is a lawyer representing Qualcomm in this latest chapter in the legal battle with Apple.
At this point, it is unclear if Qualcomm will find any greater success by including the iPhone XS and iPhone XR to its list of infringing products. Apple is still selling the previously "banned" iPhones in China because it asserts that the infringement only applies to iPhones running iOS 11. All of the iPhones that Apple currently ships have iOS 12 installed, which Apple says does not infringe upon the two Qualcomm patents in question.