China’s Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court has granted a request from Qualcomm to halt the sale of several iPhone models in China due to alleged patent violations.
The iPhone models affected in the order include the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X – in other words, all of Apple’s iPhone models from the past few years except those launched this autumn. The patents in question cover technology designed to “enable consumers to adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and to manage applications using a touch screen when viewing, navigating and dismissing applications on their phones,” according to a statement from Qualcomm.
Commenting on the legal order, Qualcomm VP and General Counsel Don Rosenberg said that while Qualcomm tries to avoid resorting to the courts in disputes with partners, “Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us.” Qualcomm supplied microprocessor technology used in the iPhones subject to the injunction, but Apple has recently taken measures to reduce its reliance on the American chip maker.
Despite the ruling’s announcement on Monday, Apple has continued to sell its iPhone 7 and 8 models through its Chinese website. The company has also filed a request asking the court to reconsider the matter, the first step in the appeal process.
The injunction arrives amid a trade dispute between the US and China, with some analysts considering the possibility that the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court’s ruling was politically motivated. In any case, it is also the latest development in a long-running dispute between Apple and Qualcomm, with the former having sued the latter at the start of last year over allegedly monopolistic business practices.