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German court grants injunction to ban Apple iPhones over patent issue

By Nicholas Sakelaris
German court grants injunction to ban Apple iPhones over patent issue
Apple said Thursday it will appeal a ruling by a German court that bans the sale of iPhones in the country. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Questions over patent infringement has Apple in trouble again, this time in Germany, where Qualcomm was granted a second injunction to ban the sale of certain iPhone models.

Qualcomm was granted a similar injunction against Apple in China for alleged patent violations on Dec. 10. Apple didn't stop selling iPhone in China and instead released a software update to address the complaint, which dealt with photo editing and arranging apps on the phone.

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Apple said it's disappointed by the verdict in Germany.

"Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issue between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers," Apple said in a statement. "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."

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The chips in question were manufactured by Qorvo, an Apple supplier, and include a feature that saves battery power while still sending and receiving wireless signals. Qorvo released a statement from chief intellectual property counsel Mike Baker that denies the envelope tracking chip infringes on Qualcomm's patents.

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Qualcomm said the International Trade Commission determined that the chip doesn't infringe on the U.S. counterpart to the patent.

"We're disappointed that the inventor and designer of our chip, who attended the hearing, wasn't given the opportunity to testify or present other evidence that disproves Qualcomm's claim of infringement," Baker said.

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Apple plans to appeal the new ruling so the Germany ban won't go into effect, yet. Regardless, Apple hasn't sold the iPhone 7 or 8 models in its 15 Apple stores in Germany since the litigation began. The newer iPhone XS, XS Max and XR will still be available because they don't use chips from Intel. All iPhone models will be available at telecommunication carriers and third-party retailers in Germany.

Industry experts say Apple could soon design its own chips so in the future the iPhone won't rely on third-party suppliers. Qualcomm's actions in Germany and elsewhere around the world could be forcing Apple's hand.

RELATED Court ruling bars sales of Apple iPhones in China

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