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China Bans Some iPhones after Qualcomm Wins Preliminary Injunction

Qualcomm Inc. won two preliminary injunctions against Apple Inc.’s subsidiaries in China, the company announced Dec. 10.

The ruling by the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China will result in a ban on older iPhone models found to violate two of Qualcomm’s patents: a patent that allows users to adjust the size and appearance of photos, and one that allows them to manage applications using a touch screen.

Qualcomm stated the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X would be affected by the ruling. The ban won’t affect Apple’s newest models: the iPhone XS, XS Max and the iPhone XR.

Qualcomm General Counsel Don Rosenberg said in an emailed statement that the preliminary injunction orders are currently in effect, and are not specific to the operating system installed on the phones.

“If Apple is violating the orders, Qualcomm will seek enforcement of the orders through Enforcement Tribunals that are part of the Chinese court system,” he wrote.

Apple and Qualcomm have been engaged in lengthy legal battle since 2017, spanning multiple countries and billions of dollars. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf recently said the company was “on the doorstep” of a resolution with Apple. On the other hand, Apple’s lead attorney, William Isaacson, said that would not happen through a settlement, adding the two companies hadn’t had talks in months.

“We deeply value our relationships with customers, rarely resorting to the courts for assistance, but we also have an abiding belief in the need to protect intellectual property rights,” Rosenberg said in a news release. “Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast patent portfolio.”

Apple filed an appeal to overturn the ban on Dec. 10, according to CNBC. The phonemaker stated it did not violate Qualcomm’s patents, and that the ban goes beyond the scope of the injunction.

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