A Qualcomm campus in San Diego, California, the US. Picture: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE/FILE PHOTO
A Qualcomm campus in San Diego, California, the US. Picture: REUTERS/MIKE BLAKE/FILE PHOTO

Los Angeles — Chip supplier Qualcomm says it has won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the importation and sale of several Apple iPhone models in China due to patent violations.

The preliminary order affects the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X sold with older versions of Apple’s iOS operating system. Qualcomm, the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones, initially filed its case in China in late 2017.

In a statement, Apple said its iPhones remain on sale in the country, with newer software.

The ruling came from the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China, the same court that earlier in 2018  banned the import of some of memory chip maker Micron Technology’s chips into China.

The court found Apple violated two of Qualcomm’s software patents around resizing photographs and managing applications on a touch screen.

“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us,” Don Rosenberg, general counsel of Qualcomm, said.

Apple shares fell 2% in premarket trading.

Because the patents concern software, Apple could make changes to its software to avoid the patents and still be able to sell its phones.

In a statement, Apple said that all iPhone models remain available for its customers in China. New iPhones use Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 12.

“Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple said.

The patents in the suit, which Qualcomm said had been upheld by the Chinese patent office, are separate from those being contested in other cases in its wide-ranging legal dispute with Apple. Qualcomm has also asked regulators in the US to ban the importation of several iPhone models over patent concerns, but US officials have so far declined to do so.

The specific iPhone models affected by the preliminary ruling in China are the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

Reuters