US trade judge recommends that the sales ban on some Apple iPhones

(Reuters) – A U.S. trade court on Tuesday recommended Qualcomm Inc win a sales ban on some Apple Inc. iPhone models using chips made by Intel Corp in one of the two patent disputes before the International Trade Commission.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Apple is seen in a shop in Zurich, Switzerland, 3 January 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann -/File Photo

ITC administrative law judge MaryJoan McNamara said the basis for the prohibition was the observation that Apple infringed on a Qualcomm patent with respect to the smartphone technology.

The judge in the first clause is not binding and will be reviewed by the agency.

The judge said that Apple does not infringe two other Qualcomm patents at issue in the case.

“We appreciate Judge McNamara’s recognition of Apple’s infringement of our hardware patent and that she will recommend an import ban and the cease and desist order,” Qualcomm General Counsel Don Rosenberg said in a statement.

Apple has not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The ITC is expected to make a final decision later on Tuesday in a similar case brought by Qualcomm, which the chip maker is also looking to a US ban on the sale of some iPhones with Intel chips. In that case, is in a more advanced stage.

The two cases are essentially similar, but are based on different patents of Qualcomm. Both of them, Qualcomm is looking for an iPhone sales ban.

The two American companies are locked in a broad legal disputes in which Apple has accused Qualcomm of unfair patent licensing practices. Qualcomm has, in turn, Apple accused of patent infringement.

A lawsuit is scheduled for April in a case brought by Apple alleged Qualcomm’s licensing practices violate U.S. competition law.

The International Trade Commission is a government agency which is competent to take cognizance of disputes over patented technology.

While the ITC cannot award money damages, such as federal courts, it can block the sale of imported products if it determines they infringe on patents. So an ITC import ban has the effect of stopping the US sales of a product in the abroad.

Apple iphone outside the United States through deals with the contract manufacturers and imports them into the U.S. market

In ITC cases, a judge makes an initial recommendation as McNamara has, which is then reviewed by the full agency.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Stephen Nellis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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