There are reports saying US chip-maker Qualcomm has won an injunction against Apple in China. The injunction bans the import of a number of iPhones ranging from the iPhone 6S to the iPhone X,. Qualcomm says Apple has infringed on its patents in iOS 11 and earlier, with the chip-maker alleging Apple has “borrowed” tech involved in image resizing and how apps are managed on touchscreens.
Apple’s response, according to the BBC was uncharacteristically blunt saying it was “another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world”.
The matter seems to be part of an ongoing dispute between the two companies with Apple alleging Qualcomm abused its market position as a dominant player in the computer chip market and Qualcomm alleging patent infringement by Apple.
Apple claims that the ban hasn’t yet taken affect and only applies to devices running iOS 11 or earlier. But Qualcomm says that if Apple doesn’t comply that they will seek the assistance of the courts to enforce the ruling. And if the devices are shipped into China with iOS 12 dies that make a difference/
The challenge is that the Chinese courts, in their typically transparent manner, have banned publication of the ruling so now one else can interpret what’s been said in a proceeding that’s taken over 18 months. When Qualcomm filed its lawsuit in late 2017 it focused on the phones and software Apple was selling at the time. The iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iOS 12 weren’t on the market yet and not part of the legal action.
The effect on Apple’s share price was negligible. There was a 3.1% drop in the value according to Bloomberg but the price recovered quickly.
At some point, the companies that make these products and components need to figure out a better way of resolving these disputes and sharing their IP. At the end of it all, the legal costs born by all the players are pushed back into the price of the products we buy.