Qualcomm tells China court Apple infringement causes 'irreparable harm' to handset rivals

17 December 2018 3:29pm

12 December 2018. By Yonnex Li.

Qualcomm has accused Apple of causing handset competitors "irreparable harm" by infringing on the chipmaker's patents, as part of its successful application to a Chinese court for a ban against a wide range of iPhone models, according to a court ruling obtained by MLex.

"The infringement will cause irreparable harm to the competitiveness of the products of other handset manufacturers that have established licensing relationships with Qualcomm in the Chinese market," the Nov. 30 ruling, issued by the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court, cited Qualcomm as saying in its application. "This will then cause irreparable harm to the commercial partnership between Qualcomm and its partners."

The San Diego, California-based chipmaker also said that it will be hard to determine the amount of compensation for infringement, if Apple is allowed to continue its conduct. The harm on Qualcomm will also inevitably expand further as Apple rolls out new handset models, the company added.

The court sided with Qualcomm, ordering four Apple subsidiaries to immediately cease the importation, sale and offers for sale in China of infringing products – the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. One of the companies was also asked to remove from Apple's official website in China related advertisements and information.

In explaining its rationale, the court said "the alleged infringement is ongoing, and the trial of this case will take considerable time before an effective judgment is made, and during this period, Qualcomm may suffer irreparable harm from the alleged infringement."

The four Apple companies involved were Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai), Apple Trading (Shanghai), as well as Apple Electronics Products Commerce (Beijing) and its Fuzhou subsidiary.

The patent lawsuit was formally accepted by the court on Nov. 15 last year, and Qualcomm made an application for the pre-suit injunction on July 10 this year, the court ruling showed.

Qualcomm first disclosed on Monday that it had won the preliminary injunctions against Apple. At the center of the dispute were Qualcomm's ZL201310491586.1 patents that enable consumers to adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and to manage applications using a touch screen when viewing, navigating and dismissing applications on their phones.

The company submitted to the court evidence including a copy of its patent registration, certificates that show Apple having engaged in imports and sales of the allegedly infringing products, a forensics report that shows the iPhone models carry the same features as those of the Qualcomm technologies in dispute.

Apple told MLex that the Cupertino, California-based company already filed on Monday a reconsideration request with the court. The court ruling indicates that "the implementation of the injunction shall not cease during the reconsideration period," meaning that the order remains enforceable until a final judgment is made.

Qualcomm is being represented by Lexfield Law Offices, and Apple by Fangda Partners.

FTC - Qualcomm Trial