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Qualcomm urges U.S. regulators to reverse course and ban on some iPhones

(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc is at the insistence of the V. S. trade regulators to set aside a court ruling and a ban on the import of some Apple Inc iPhones in a long-running patent battle between the two companies.

FILE PHOTO: a Qualcomm sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China on November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Qualcomm is looking to the prohibition in the hope of dealing Apple a blow to the two begin a large trial in mid-April in San Diego over Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices. Qualcomm has asked to apply pressure on Apple with a smaller legal challenges of the trial and won a partial iPhone sales banned in China and Germany against Apple, making the iPhone-maker to ship only phones with Qualcomm chips in some markets.

A possible ban on iPhone imports to the United States may be of short duration because Apple last week for the first time mentioned that finding a software solution to avoid infringing on one of Qualcomm’s patents. Apple asked regulators to give as much as six months to prove that the fix works.

Qualcomm brought an action against Apple in the U. S International Trade Commission in 2017 with the assertion that some iPhones infringed Qualcomm patents to help smart phones run well without draining their batteries. Qualcomm asked for a ban on the import of some older iPhone models with Intel Corp. chips.

In September, Thomas Pender, an administrative law judge at the ITC found that Apple infringed one of the patents in the case, but declined to issue a ban. Pender reasoned that the imposition of a ban on Intel-chipped iPhones would hand Qualcomm a monopoly on the AMERICAN market for modem chips, which connect to smart phones wireless data networks.

Pender’s ruling said that the preservation of competition in the modem chip market was in the general interest faster 5G networks come online in the next couple of years.

Cases where the ITC finds patent infringement, but no ban on the import of products that are rare. In December, the full ITC said it would review Pender’s decision and decide whether to keep or to return by the end of March.

In the cases that became public late last week for the full decision of Apple for the first time said that he had developed a software solution to avoid run afoul of Qualcomm’s patent. Apple said that it couldn’t discover the fix until after the end of the trial, and that the implementation of the new software “last fall.”

But Apple said that it would need six months to verify that the correction will meet the supervisors and to the sale of the existing stock. Apple had asked the full commission to delay import ban by the long as well as the commission reverses the judge’s decisions.

In a late submission on Friday, Qualcomm argued that Apple’s disclosure of a fix undermined the reasoning in Pender decision, and that the Intel-chipped-phones should be banned, while Apple put her down.

“Pender recommended against a remedy on the assumption that the (Qualcomm) patent would exclude the possibility that Apple is using Intel as a supplier for many years and that there is not a design was feasible,” Qualcomm wrote. “Apple now admits more than seven months after the hearing—that the damage is entirely avoided.’

Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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