This past Monday, China's Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court granted Qualcomm's request and ordered a ban on the importation and sale of older Apple iPhone models in the country. According to CNBC's David Farber, Qualcomm is arguing to the court that Apple is ignoring the ban, and continues to sell its handsets in China. As proof, the chip designer showed the court a video of iPhone units being unboxed and sold.
Qualcomm insists that Apple owes it $7 billion in royalty payments and that it has turned over secrets relating to its modem chips to rival Intel. In fact, this year Apple dropped Qualcomm as a supplier and is exclusively using Intel's modem chip in the iPhone. Apple has accused Qualcomm of charging excessive royalties. Back in 2017, Apple said that it pays Qualcomm five times more in licensing fees than all other firms it pays such fees to, combined. Still, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf believes that both firms will shake hands by the end of this year.Because of a number of lawsuits between the two companies, there is bad blood between them.
In the case leading to the import and sales ban in China, the court ruled that Apple infringed on a pair of Qualcomm's software patents. One patent relates to software used to resize and adjust photos on a smartphone; the other patent deals with software used to help handset users navigate and close apps on their phones. The ban covers the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. Apple claims that the court order refers to those models, but only if sold with an older version of iOS, containing Qualcomm's software. Qualcomm disagrees, and says that the ruling affects the sale of nearly every iPhone model. On Wednesday morning, Apple had no comment.