German court rules Apple infringed Qualcomm patent

MUNICH/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A German court ruled Thursday that the iPhone-maker Apple Inc infringed on a hardware patents from Qualcomm Inc and said that the AMERICAN company could not sell some models of the iPhone in Germany in which a particular component.

A woman looks at the screen of her mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China 30 July 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

The ruling will not go into immediate effect if Apple’s appeal, judge Matthias Zigann told the court.

The German case is Qualcomm’s third major attempt to put a ban on Apple’s lucrative iPhones over patent infringement allegations after a similar court efforts in the United States and in China.

In Germany, Qualcomm is looking to a ban on some iPhones with chips from Intel Corp. The court ruled that phones contain a chip Apple-supplier Qorvo Inc infringed one of Qualcomm’s patents around the so-called envelope tracking, a feature that helps the mobile phones battery power during sending and receiving of wireless signals.

“The competition authorities around the world have repeatedly found Qualcomm licensing practices illegal, but Qualcomm continues to achieve the same result by means of a campaign of patent lawsuits. These lawsuits have been largely unsuccessful, and at best would reduce innovation and increase prices,” Steven Rodgers, Intel’s general counsel, said in a statement.

Apple and Qorvo were not immediately available for comment.

Qualcomm sued by Apple in the court in Munich in July last year seeking an injunction to halt some of the iPhone sales in Germany, as well as a damages.

The case is part of a broader court conflict between the two, in which Apple has asserted that Qualcomm engaged in anti-competitive business practices to secure a monopoly on the so-called modem chips that help mobile phones connect to wireless data networks. The US Federal Trade Commission has also sued Qualcomm over the state of affairs in a case brought to court in California next month.

Qualcomm has asserted in courts all over the world that Apple violated patents and requested a ban on iPhone sales in the United States and China.

U.S. regulators found Apple infringed Qualcomm patents, but have so far recommended against the ban of some iPhone sales, but a Chinese court for a sales ban on some iPhones earlier this month. Apple said the phones will remain on sale and that it believes that it has complied with the Chinese court’s order, but it also made changes to the iPhone software, in the wake of the ruling.

Reporting by Joern Poltz in Munich and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, writing by Emma Thomasson, editing, Tassilo Hummel and Bernadette Baum

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