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Qualcomm v. Apple: Court Ruling in China Could Block iPhone Sales

Dan Jones

A Chinese court has ruled in favor of Qualcomm in that company's ongoing patent dispute against Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). The court's ruling, for now, could prevent Apple from selling specific models of the iPhone in China.

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) said Monday morning that the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in China has granted Qualcomm's request for two preliminary injunctions against Chinese subsidiaries of Apple. The court ordered the Apple subsidiaries to "immediately cease infringing upon two Qualcomm patents through the unlicensed importation, sale and offers for sale in China of the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X."

The patents in the case relate to touchscreen navigation and the resizing of photographs, Qualcomm says. Qualcomm said that additional actions seeking similar relief for Apple's alleged infringement of other Qualcomm patents are pending in China and other countries.

Apple and Qualcomm have been in a legal dispute over chipset licensing fees and royalties since 2017. Early last year, Apple sued Qualcomm over a licensing fee dispute. Qualcomm struck back saying that Apple owes it $7 billion in unpaid royalties. (See Apple Isn't Talking Settlement Over Qualcomm Case – Report.)

Apple is expected to go to trial over the licensing fee dispute in the US next year. The smartphone leader has been using Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) chipsets in its latest iPhone models. (See New iPhones Have Intel Inside.)

Light Reading has asked Apple for comment on the preliminary ruling. We'll update the story with any response.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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