German court orders iPhone sales ban in Qualcomm patent dispute
Qualcomm won an injunction that allows a sales ban on some iPhone models in Germany, equipping the chipmaker with another weapon in its long and bitter licensing battle with Apple only 10 days after winning a similar judgment in China.
Qualcomm would have to post a €668.4m ($765m) bond to implement the injunction. Apple, which can appeal, is infringing intellectual property related to a hardware energy-saving feature, presiding judge Matthias Zigann said when delivering the ruling on Thursday in Munich.
The two US companies are locked in a worldwide dispute over licensing fees Qualcomm charges for use of technology the chipmaker says underpins all modern phone systems. Apple has argued its former supplier unfairly leverages its position as the biggest provider of chips for smartphones to force payment. Qualcomm has countered that Apple is using its intellectual property without paying for it.
Apple and Qualcomm are fighting over intellectual property covering wireless networks and devices. Apple accused Qualcomm of illegally charging too much for licences. The chipmaker is using other patents that cover some aspects of the way phones work to attack back. It has used a common industry tactic of seeking bans on potentially infringing products to try to force a settlement.
Thursday’s ruling is the first win in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, and the victory will add to Qualcomm’s leverage in the dispute. The chipmaker has filed 13 cases in the country. One of them was rejected. The win now increases the pressure on Apple after a blow earlier this month in China.
The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court ruled 10 days ago that Apple is infringing two Qualcomm patents and issued injunctions against the sale of the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, the San Diego, California-based chipmaker said last week.
The Munich ruling doesn’t specify the models affected but describes the technology used by Apple that violates Qualcomm’s intellectual property. Qualcomm has said iPhone models 6 to 10 are using the patents raised in the Munich case.