ITC to review Qualcomm’s request to ban some iPhones in the US

On December 10th, China’s Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court granted Qualcomm two interim injunctions against Apple’s four Chinese subsidiaries, demanding that they immediately stop importing, selling and promising sales of two of Qualcomm’s patents in China. The banned iPhones include iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. After the seven iPhones were banned in China, it appears that Apple will now have to face another hurdle in the United States.

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On December 15th, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) said it would review Qualcomm’s request to ban iPhones in the United States. According to the report, Qualcomm launched an ITC case against Apple in July 2017, claiming that the iPhone with Intel chips infringed on six patents, and Qualcomm later removed three of the patents from the case.

Judge Thomas Pender ruled in September that Apple only infringed one of the patents and recommended that ITC not sue the iPhone for a lock-up order because it is not in the US interest. Qualcomm objected to the ruling, and Qualcomm counsel, Don Rosenberg, said that it is meaningless to refuse an import ban to continue to allow infringement because it violates the principle of “ITC prohibits the import of infringing products to protect American innovators”.

ITC said it will review whether the patent has actually been violated and the ruling will be announced before February 19. Apple has completely stopped using Qualcomm chips in the latest iPhone and switched to Intel products. In addition, Qualcomm has adopted a low-cost licensing model for next-generation network technology patents, and several mobile phone manufacturers have signed agreements with Qualcomm.

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