Qualcomm has won a preliminary order from a Chinese court banning the import and sale of several Apple iPhone models in China due to patent violations.
A Qualcomm statement said the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court has granted its request for two preliminary injunctions against Apple. Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China also banned the import of some of memory chip maker Micron Technology’s chips into China.
Qualcomm, the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones, initially filed its case in China in late 2017.
The court found Apple violated two of Qualcomm’s software patents around resizing photographs and managing applications on a touch screen.
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 in its statement.
Qualcomm has also asked regulators in the United States to ban the import of several iPhone models over patent concerns, but U.S. officials have so far declined to do so.
The 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.
China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are Apple’s third-largest market, accounting for about one-fifth of Apple’s $265.6 billion in sales in its most recent fiscal year.
Apple said on Monday it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court, the first step in appealing the ban. To enforce the ban, Qualcomm separately will have to file complaints in what is known as an enforcement tribunal, where Apple will also have a chance to appeal.
Qualcomm is a key technology vendor to China’s smartphone brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus, while Apple competes directly against Hauwei Technologies.
Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel, Qualcomm, said: “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.”
Recently, Bloomberg reported that Apple will not be able to launch its 5G iPhones till 2020 because it is forced to rely on Intel for 5G chipset and modems. Qualcomm will be supplying 5G chipset to Samsung and several China-based smartphone makers for their 5G smartphone launches.