San Francisco — Split decisions on Tuesday by a US government panel in acrimonious patent disputes between iPhone-maker Apple and chip supplier Qualcomm left their battle lines largely unchanged ahead of a US Federal Trade Commission ruling and a major trial next month. The International Trade Commission (ITC), a government agency empowered to hear disputes over patented technology, issued a final ruling in one case that went in Apple’s favour while an ITC administrative judge made a non-binding recommendation that supported Qualcomm in another. In both cases Qualcomm sought to have imports of Apple iPhone 7, 8 and X models containing chips made by Intel banned. Because iPhones are made overseas, banning imports would choke Apple’s sales of the phones in the US. The two American companies have been locked for two years in a legal dispute in which Apple has accused Qualcomm of unfair patent licensing practices. Qualcomm has in turn accused Apple of patent infringement. “Qualcomm is u...

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