Technology

Apple denies claims of iPhone sales ban in China

US chip-maker Qualcomm says it has been granted two injunctions against Apple in the country, but the tech giant says its devices remain on sale.

Chip-maker Qualcomm claims it has been granted two injunctions against Apple in China that prevent the sale of a range of iPhone handsets in the country.

Qualcomm said Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Apple had violated two software patents held by Qualcomm linked to photo editing and managing applications.

The preliminary order relates to the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X, but Apple has denied the devices will no longer be on sale.

(Lauren Hurley/PA)
The iPhone 6S is one of the phones affected by the order (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Qualcomm makes a range of semiconductor and telecommunications equipment, notably the Snapdragon processors used in most Android smartphones.

Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said: “We deeply value our relationships with customers, rarely resorting to the courts for assistance, but we also have an abiding belief in the need to protect intellectual property rights.

“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast patent portfolio.”

An Apple spokesman said: “Qualcomm’s effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world. All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China.

“We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”

Apple said the disputed patents relate to devices running an older version of its software, iOS 11, and not the current generation software iOS 12, which was released earlier this year.

All the named devices in the injunction are compatible with iOS 12.

The ruling is the latest in a bitter battle between the two companies, following previous Qualcomm attempts to ban iPhone sales in China, as well as one trying to ban sales in the US, both over alleged patent infringements.

Apple has also filed lawsuits against the San Diego-based firm in the past, claiming it abused its dominant market position as a chip-maker.

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