German Court bans sale of iPhone 7 to iPhone X

A German court has ruled that Apple infringed on a Qualcomm hardware patent and the company can no longer sell iPhone’s from iPhone 7 through to iPhone X models in the country. The ruling won’t go into immediate effect if Apple appeals.

Qualcomm sued Apple in the regional court in Munich in July last year, seeking an injunction to halt some iPhone sales in Germany as well as monetary damages.

In Germany, Qualcomm is seeking a ban on some iPhones with chips from Intel. The judge ruled that phones that contain a chip from Apple supplier Qorvo violated one of Qualcomm’s patents around so-called envelope tracking, a feature that helps mobile phones save battery power while sending and receiving wireless signals.

The intellectual property in question covers battery efficiency technology and originates from the same batch of six patents leveraged against Apple in Qualcomm’s U.S. International Trade Commission complaint. Specifically, the chipmaker claimed infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,698,558 for a “Low-voltage power-efficient envelope tracker.”

“Competition authorities around the world have repeatedly found Qualcomm’s licensing practices unlawful, yet Qualcomm continues to try to achieve the same results through a campaign of patent lawsuits. These lawsuits have been largely unsuccessful, and at best would reduce innovation and raise prices,” Steven Rodgers, Intel’s general counsel, said in a statement.

Apple is to appeal and issued the following statement:

“Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior. We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. 

All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple’s 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.”

Qualcomm has alleged in courts around the world that Apple violated its patents and has sought bans on iPhone sales in the United States and China.

U.S. regulators found Apple infringed one Qualcomm patent but have so far recommended against banning some iPhone sales, but a Chinese court issued a sales ban on some iPhones earlier this month. Apple are to appeal this decision as well.

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