Qualcomm wins import & sales ban on iPhones shipping with iOS 11 in China

Posted:
in iPhone edited December 2018
Qualcomm has won a preliminary order in a Chinese court banning the import and sale of iPhones with older versions of iOS installed out-of-the-box, over software patents that Apple was found to have violated in iOS 11.

iPhone X and iPhone 8
iPhone X and iPhone 8


"Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us," general counsel of Qualcomm Don Rosenberg, said in a statement about the matter.

The ban was won based on Apple's violation of Qualcomm's software patents related to resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen. According to Reuters, the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X violate the patents in question -- assuming that they are running iOS 11 or earlier.

Apple can -- and likely will -- appeal the import and sales ban.The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR are not listed as banned devices, as they were not available when the suit was filed in 2017. The ban does not impact second-hand sales, and at present, devices are still available for sale in the country.

"Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world," Apple said in a statement to AppleInsider. "All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts."

Qualcomm originally was looking for a ban on manufacturing the devices in China as well, but it appears to have lost that part of the suit. This matter over software implementation is a separate one than the Qualcomm modem chip legal battle that continues to rage.

Apple first filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Qualcomm in January 2017, arguing that the latter was withholding money as retaliation for cooperation with antitrust investigations. The battle quickly escalated, resulting in suits and countersuits around the world. In September, Qualcomm accused Apple of delivering trade secrets to Intel to improve the performance of modems.

An August settlement over similar matters saw Qualcomm pay $93 million in fines to Taiwan and promise to invest $700 million in the country over five years.

A U.S. Federal Trade Commission lawsuit actually precedes Apple's, and reached a critical turning point recently when District Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary ruling against Qualcomm, calling on it to license technology to rivals like Intel. Qualcomm and the FTC have been pursuing a settlement.

To put pressure on Qualcomm, Apple has been directing its manufacturers to withhold royalty payments, potentially in excess of $7 billion.

Qualcomm's CEO believes that the modem chip saga is nearly over, but Apple seems to disagree, with a source within Apple saying that there have been no meaningful conversations between the two companies in months.

Updated with a statement from Apple, and clarification about iOS 11 versus iOS 12.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    I’m not familiar with resizing photos on an iPhone other than the crop feature and pinch to zoom (which isn’t resizing), so does anyone know what this is about?
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 560member
    CNBC has been fumbling this story, maybe you can clarify some details. IOS 12 was released in September 2017. The iphone 8/ 8 Plus/ X were also released September 2017. Does this mean since they are shipping with IOS 12 they skirt the ban? So then this would only apply to the 6/ 6S/ 7 line?

    Also, Apple is saying all models are still available for sale in China.

    Correction: as corrected by another poster..IOS 12 was released in 2018.
    edited December 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Thank you.  I appreciate facts and data over vague and uninformative articles.
    It is nice to have facts and information to go over and evaluate rather than the usual negative planted if you will, speculations.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    NY1822 said:
    CNBC has been fumbling this story, maybe you can clarify some details. IOS 12 was released in September 2017. The iphone 8/ 8 Plus/ X were also released September 2017. Does this mean since they are shipping with IOS 12 they skirt the ban? So then this would only apply to the 6/ 6S/ 7 line?

    Also, Apple is saying all models are still available for sale in China.
    We'd need to see the text of these preliminary injunctions to know for sure what they cover. But my guess would be that Apple designed around the methods in question with iOS 12 (i.e. how the functions are achieved is somewhat different) such that iPhones sold with the latest iOS installed aren't blocked. That would be consistent with the wording of both Apple's and Qualcomm's statements, and with what we might have expected Apple to do in response to these actions being taken by Qualcomm.

    Part of Apple's complaint (which has been echoed by a number of other parties) has been that Qualcomm had previoulsy refused to tell licensees what patents they were licensing. Qualcomm would just say, you have to pay us this much and it covers all the IP which you might need. Various regulatory bodies have told Qualcomm that it can't do that. And now Qualcomm is bringing up particular (non-SEP) patents to try to find leverage against Apple. So it's reasonable to think that Apple didn't realize it had been infringing on certain Qualcomm patents (assuming it had been) until Qualcomm recently brought those patents up.
    edited December 2018 jbdragonnetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    NY1822 said:
    CNBC has been fumbling this story, maybe you can clarify some details. IOS 12 was released in September 2017. The iphone 8/ 8 Plus/ X were also released September 2017. Does this mean since they are shipping with IOS 12 they skirt the ban? So then this would only apply to the 6/ 6S/ 7 line?

    Also, Apple is saying all models are still available for sale in China.
    The 8/8Plus/X released last year with iOS 11. iOS 12 released this year with the XS/XSMax/XR.
    bshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    This will be widely misreported because the “news” organizations are a complete joke, contributing to another big slide on AAPL stock. Guaranteed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,894moderator
    According to Apple, all these models are shipping new with iOS 12, which makes sense as they’d want iOS 12 on all phones that support it.  

    The injunction apparently applies only if those iPhone models are using an older version of iOS, which Qualcomm asserts violates a couple of its patents. However, none of those models ships with the older, allegedly infringing iOS version, and so this is a phyrric victory on Qualcomm’s part, meaning it has no teeth.
    bshankmwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    NY1822 said:
    CNBC has been fumbling this story, maybe you can clarify some details. IOS 12 was released in September 2017. The iphone 8/ 8 Plus/ X were also released September 2017. Does this mean since they are shipping with IOS 12 they skirt the ban? So then this would only apply to the 6/ 6S/ 7 line?

    Also, Apple is saying all models are still available for sale in China.
    The 8/8Plus/X released last year with iOS 11. iOS 12 released this year with the XS/XSMax/XR.
    But the older models can be shipped with iOS 12 pre-installed. Depending on what the preliminary injunctions say, that may allow older iPhone models to avoid the ban. I don't think we know yet. I'd like to see the (English) text of the preliminary injunctions.
    edited December 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    This will be widely misreported because the “news” organizations are a complete joke, contributing to another big slide on AAPL stock. Guaranteed.
    Oh well. Bottom line, Apple ships all these iPhones with iOS 12 now. Although I don’t think they ship the 6 anymore.  So it makes sense that all the phones are available in China. The ban has no effect. 
    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,853administrator
    NY1822 said:
    CNBC has been fumbling this story, maybe you can clarify some details. IOS 12 was released in September 2017. The iphone 8/ 8 Plus/ X were also released September 2017. Does this mean since they are shipping with IOS 12 they skirt the ban? So then this would only apply to the 6/ 6S/ 7 line?

    Also, Apple is saying all models are still available for sale in China.

    Correction: as corrected by another poster..IOS 12 was released in 2018.
    Sorry, late to the party here. Busy day. 

    While the China court says that it is a device ban based on the software, if Apple substantively changed the software from iOS 11 to iOS 12, they can argue that it is not the same product as the infringing one, and as such, can still be sold -- so it appears that's what's going on here. The original court filing was for everything up to the iPhone X, that could run iOS 11.
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,858member
    This is 100% a political move against the US from China in retaliation for the boneheaded trade moves by the Tariff Master. QualComm's suit was a convenient retaliatory attack vector, served on a silver platter by QualComm, that now allows the Chinese to inflict some real damage to the US economy. It's tough enough to fight the internal, constantly spreading stupidity cancer that we already have to deal with in Washington as it is, but now we have an American company feeding ammunition to the other side for their own petty ambitions. QualComm should be ashamed of themselves. They used to be a good company, but they milked their old IP cash cow a little too hard and failed to innovate. Now they are sinking fast and are consorting with the Chinese to try to save their own ass no matter what it means to American consumers and the US economy. This will ultimately blow up in their face, with or without China having their back. I'd agree that it's also now safe to say that the Trade War is no longer just an existential threat, it's now an active war and we know which side QualComm is on.
    bshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    I wonder how much that cost Qcommie to get a “win?”
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,168member
    dewme said:
    This is 100% a political move against the US from China in retaliation for the boneheaded trade moves by the Tariff Master. QualComm's suit was a convenient retaliatory attack vector, served on a silver platter by QualComm, that now allows the Chinese to inflict some real damage to the US economy. It's tough enough to fight the internal, constantly spreading stupidity cancer that we already have to deal with in Washington as it is, but now we have an American company feeding ammunition to the other side for their own petty ambitions. QualComm should be ashamed of themselves. They used to be a good company, but they milked their old IP cash cow a little too hard and failed to innovate. Now they are sinking fast and are consorting with the Chinese to try to save their own ass no matter what it means to American consumers and the US economy. This will ultimately blow up in their face, with or without China having their back. I'd agree that it's also now safe to say that the Trade War is no longer just an existential threat, it's now an active war and we know which side QualComm is on.
    There are two sides here. The arrest of the CFO of Huwaei was also a disaster. 

    Evrn if tarrifs don’t pass the rising nationalism in China might see them abandoning the iPhone. 
  • Reply 14 of 14
    “patents related to resizing photographs and app management on a touch screen. “

    Is this the pinch and pull ?  
    Can you make a video of exactly what is Qualcomm’allegation?
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