Today Qualcomm was granted an injunction against Apple, allowing for a ban of certain iPhone models in Germany. The announcement comes only a little over a week after a Chinese court ruled in a similar fashion against Apple, on the case that the company is infringing Qualcomm patents.

The case in Germany is on the matter of infringing certain patents that cover the functioning of envelope tracking (ET). ET is a key component in the RF front-end of a cellular system, and its usage notably increases the power efficiency of the system by avoiding unnecessary losses on the side of the power amplifier.

Qualcomm claims Apple’s implementation in certain devices infringes on their patents – in this case we’re talking about international models of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 which rely on Intel modems and a Qorvo ET chip.

The ban is currently not yet active, as Qualcomm will need to post a bond of €668.4m before the order can be enforced. Meanwhile, Apple is naturally appealing the injunction. The interesting aspect here is that Apple is removing the iPhone 7 & 8 from its stores in Germany, although this doesn’t mean that the phones won’t be available anymore as they will remain on sale through their resellers. Apple’s statements, as quoted by Reuters:

“We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal,”

“All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple’s 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.”

Qorvo chief intellectual property counsel also disputes the court’s findings:

“We believe our envelope tracking chip does not infringe the patent in suit, and the court would have come to a different conclusion if it had considered all the evidence,”

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Source: Reuters

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  • HStewart - Thursday, December 20, 2018 - link

    I think it is important to note this is Germany, I believe EU is struggling so anything could help this struggle.

    I find it interest, iPhone X is not included - Apple would rather sell the more expensive models
  • darkswordsman17 - Thursday, December 20, 2018 - link

    Is Germany struggling? Because that's where you'd actually need to think with that reasoning as this applies to Germany and not the EU.

    I don't think it has anything to do with what Apple wants. The X, and the XS/+ and XR, probably just don't infringe otherwise I'm sure Qualcomm would have had them banned as well.

    Your thought process here seems completely skewed. This is just the corporate war waging between Apple and Qualcomm. Which it seems that Qualcomm did try to leverage their advantage in IP for awhile there and rubbed a lot of other companies the wrong way (Apple's not the first to have issues, and QC has been investigated for antitrust issues by the US and EU). I think Qualcomm saw what happened when Apple and Samsung had issues (Apple has shifted very strongly away from Samsung) and doesn't want to make it easy for them to do the same to them. This isn't going to change that (will actually almost certainly reinforce it), but I think Qualcomm is trying to get what they can while they can. If they could get the X and later I'm sure they would have.
  • frenchy_2001 - Thursday, December 20, 2018 - link

    You are right, this is just one more step in the patent War Apple and QC are waging currently.
    Apple is engaging in reverse patent holdout ( )
    As most of QC patents are part of standards, they are subject to FRAND licensing. This means QC cannot get an injunction on their main patents (4G, 5G...). Apple has refused to pay their license fees for over a year now, so QC is trying to hurt them by using their non-FRAND patents and preventing sale to renegotiate their licenses.
    (this is all a complicated contract and payment negotiation)

    The probable reason the iphone X/XS/XR are not included is because the suit started before their release.
  • Spunjji - Monday, December 24, 2018 - link

    You've made the mistake of trying to find a thread of logic in an HStewart post. Drive-by drivel is their stock in trade.
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, December 20, 2018 - link

    The fuck are you talking about?
  • Zingam - Friday, December 21, 2018 - link

    Oh, it is US that is struggling. So many wars and all of them lost. Military budget higher than ever and the costs irrecuperable. National debt growing.
    China is growing.
  • highlnder69 - Friday, December 21, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure where you are getting your information about China growing, but I can say with 100% certainty that things aren't going well over there. Right now their economy is doing VERY badly. Because of the tariff battle, people in China right now are unable to purchase pork. Since they imposed tariff's on our pork imports, and them having issues with diseased pigs, which they are having to kill and bury, prices of all other meat has increased substantially, all while the value of their currency keeps getting devalued. The housing market, especially in Beijing, is very bad. BTW, I know first hand because my wife's parents live in Beijing and told us about it. Don't believe what you keep hearing on the news.
  • sonny73n - Saturday, December 22, 2018 - link

    “I know first hand because my wife's parents live in Beijing and told us about it.”

    I wouldn’t call it “first hand”. What you’d heard is a bunch of bs from an old couple who tried to get some sympathy ($$$) from you.
    I don’t know where he gets his info but I know where you get yours, which is from some old nags.
  • Spunjji - Monday, December 24, 2018 - link

    Do you realize that all of these things are possible simultaneously? GDP growth doesn't always mean better conditions for ordinary people. See the USA and UK post-1980s for a vivid demonstration of that.
  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, December 20, 2018 - link

    Actually, this injunction also affects the iPhone X, but not the three newest models. It'll be interesting if QC ends up posting the bond. €668.4 million is about QC's net profit for an entire quarter. There is significant risk in doing so: If the court ends up deciding against them, that bond money would be used to compensate Apple for lost revenue. Apple is initially in a lower risk situation here: by removing the iPhone 7, 8 and 1st generation X from their lineup in Germany, anybody who wants a reasonably current new iPhone is now stuck with their three newest and priciest models. On the other hand, if Apple looses this lawsuit and the inevitable appeals, QC could get a princely sum for damages.
    Lastly, the presiding judge made an interesting comment on why the court granted the injunction: While Apple/Qorvo stated that their envelope tracking chip is so different from QC's technology that it doesn't violate QC's patents. However, Apple and Qorvo refused to provide details on their envelope tracking tech, making it impossible for the court to judge the merit of QC's infringement claim at this stage, hence the injunction.
    Basically, Apple/Qorvo simply say their solution is so different that QC's patents don't apply, but have so far refused to tell the court how their supposedly different solution works. This will be interesting.

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