Qualcomm enforces court order to ban iPhone sales in Germany

It's the third nation in which the American chip maker has attempted to halt iPhone sales

iPhone X with notch

Qualcomm has completed the last step in a legal process which means a court order is now in force which bans the sale of select iPhone models in Germany.

Qualcomm posted bonds of 1.34 billion euros to finalise the process as part of a legal requirement to enforce a court order which would likely see Apple withdraw all iPhone models in Germany which infringe on Qualcomm's patent, Reuters reports.

A Munich court ruled on December 20 that Apple had infringed on a Qualcomm patent related to its modems - an envelope tracking patent which is vital in the conservation of battery power while the modem is active.

Following the court ruling, Apple said it would pull iPhone 7 and 8 models from its 15 retail stores in Germany when the order came in to force, which happened after Qualcomm posted the bonds.

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According to Qualcomm, the order states that Apple must also recall infringing models from third-party resellers in Germany. Apple has said it will be appealing the decision.

However, in a previous statement given by Apple on the Munich court's ruling, the tech giant said it would continue to sell its phones in thousands of retail locations across Germany, a clear misinterpretation of the ruling compared to Qualcomm's.

Kai Ruting, a German lawyer who was not involved in proceedings spoke to Reuters regarding the correct interpretation of the court's ruling.

"These third parties are still free to sell the [affected] iPhones, and they sell the majority of iPhones," Ruting said. "The question of a settlement will be driven by the U.S. litigation and not the German case."

Ruting also said that Apple has a strong case for appeal which, if granted, would see Qualcomm's bond used to compensate Apple for lost revenue, something which could prove handy to Apple given yesterday's profit warning.

These losses were fueled, according to Apple's Tim Cook in a letter penned to investors, largely by the lack of iPhone sales in China following the country's ban on sales of older iPhone models because of the Qualcomm patent dispute. 

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The feud between Apple and Qualcomm has lasted well over a year. It started when Qualcomm sued Apple for allegedly leaking stolen trade secrets from the American chipmaker to help out Intel.

Qualcomm suffered another blow in January 2018 at the hands of the EU which fined it $1.2 billion for illegally securing exclusive rights for its chips to be used Apple devices between 2011 and 2016.

Qualcomm paid Apple billions of dollars to secure the rights to provide chips for the company which was ruled as an illegal method of blocking rivals from securing contracts with the iPhone maker.

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