Qual­comm patent dis­pute forces Ap­ple to pull iPhone 7 and 8 from its stores in Ger­many

Business a.m. - - TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION -

IN MORE BAD NEWS for Ap­ple, the com­pany’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 mod­els are not cur­rently on sale in its own re­tail stores in Ger­many.

This fol­lows an in­junc­tion is­sued by a Mu­nich court last month re­lated to patent lit­i­ga­tion brought by chip­maker Qual­comm that’s be­ing en­forced from to­day. The patent dis­pute con­cerns smart­phone power man­age­ment tech­nol­ogy that’s used to ex­tend bat­tery life.

In De­cem­ber the Mu­nich court sided with Qual­comm, find­ing that Ap­ple is in­fring­ing its pa­tented power sav­ings tech­nol­ogy in the two mod­els — grant­ing a per­ma­nent in­junc­tion.

The court or­dered Ap­ple to cease the sale, of­fer for sale and im­por­ta­tion for sale in Ger­many of in­fring­ing iPhones.

Ap­ple has said it will ap­peal.

The Ap­ple Ger­many web­site cur­rently of­fers the new­est mod­els of the iPhone, the XS, XS Max and XR; and older mod­els from 2014 (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus); 2015 (iPhone 6S and 6S Plus); and 2016 (iPhone SE). But buy­ers look­ing for 2016’s iPhone 7 or 2017’s iPhone 8 will be dis­ap­pointed.

Yes­ter­day Qual­comm an­nounced it had posted se­cu­rity bonds to­talling €1.34BN re­quired by the court, en­abling the in­junc­tion is­sued by the Dis­trict Court of Mu­nich on De­cem­ber 20 to be en­forced.

The bonds are re­quired to cover po­ten­tial dam­ages in­curred by Ap­ple should the judg­ment be over­turned or amended on ap­peal. Qual­comm had said on De­cem­ber 20 that it would post the bonds “within a few days”.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day the chip­maker also claimed the court had or­dered Ap­ple to re­call in­fring­ing iPhones from third party re­sellers in the mar­ket.

But at the time of writ­ing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 mod­els are still be­ing of­fered by Ap­ple re­sellers in Ger­many.

Ama­zon.de cur­rently of­fers both hand­sets, for in­stance. While Gravis, Ger­many’s big­gest re­seller of Ap­ple prod­ucts, also told Reuters it was still sell­ing all Ap­ple prod­ucts in­clud­ing the two mod­els.

Qual­comm has also been purs­ing patent lit­i­ga­tion against Ap­ple in China and the U.S., and last month Ap­ple ap­pealed against a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion ban­ning the im­port and sales of old iPhone mod­els in that mar­ket.

In that case the patents re­late to edit­ing pho­tos and man­ag­ing apps on smart­phone touch­screens.

While, in the US, Qual­comm has most re­cently ac­cused In­tel engi­neers work­ing with Ap­ple of steal­ing trade se­crets.

The feud dates back fur­ther though. Two years ago the FTC filed charges against Qual­comm ac­cus­ing it of an­ti­com­pet­i­tive tac­tics in an at­tempt to main­tain a mo­nop­oly in its chip busi­ness — with Ap­ple of­fi­cially cited in the com­plaint.

Cu­per­tino also filed a bil­lion-dol­lar roy­alty law­suit against the chip­maker at the same time, ac­cus­ing it of charg­ing for patents “they have noth­ing to do with”.

The le­gal bat­tle be­tween the pair shows no signs of fiz­zling out, and has led Ap­ple to re­duce its re­liance on Qual­comm chips — with In­tel the short term ben­e­fi­ciary.

An Ap­ple spokesper­son de­clined to com­ment on the lat­est liti­gious de­vel­op­ment in Ger­many but pointed to its state­ment from De­cem­ber 20 in which it takes a broad swipe at Qual­comm’s “tac­tics”.

In the state­ment Ap­ple also said re­sellers in the mar­ket would con­tinue to stock all mod­els.

It writes:

Qual­comm’s cam­paign is a des­per­ate at­tempt to dis­tract from the real is­sues be­tween our com­pa­nies. Their tac­tics, in the courts and in their ev­ery­day busi­ness, are harm­ing in­no­va­tion and harm­ing con­sumers. Qual­comm in­sists on charg­ing ex­or­bi­tant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by gov­ern­ments all around the world for their be­hav­ior.

We are of course dis­ap­pointed by this ver­dict and we plan to ap­peal. All iPhone mod­els re­main avail­able to cus­tomers through car­ri­ers and re­sellers in 4,300 lo­ca­tions across Ger­many.

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