Over the space of the last 10-years or more, the number of technology rivals that Apple has fought court battles against is astounding. Where once it was Google, and Samsung the Cupertino-based outfit now finds itself embroiled in another bitter dispute. However, this time it isn’t up against one of its natural rivals. No, this time it’s up against Qualcomm, the mobile chip making behemoth. And if it doesn’t go to plan, it could mean an import ban is placed on the iPhone 8. Meaning, it could not be sold in the US.

iPhone 8 could face an import ban in the US if Qualcomm gets its way
Image Source: Muhsin M. Belaal Auckburaully / DBS Design (screenshot)

Apple’s and Qualcomm’s Fight Could Mean No iPhone 8

As for the history of what is apparently an increasingly acrimonious dispute. It centers around Apple’s decision to stop paying Qualcomm a licensing fee for the use of its patents. The latter can charge a fee, which amounts to a percentage of the cost of each handset Apple sells. It doesn’t matter if the company uses Qualcomm‘s chips inside those handsets, patent law allows it to charge.

However, Apple is now refusing to pay, which means Qualcomm is losing billions of Dollars. As such, the company is out of pocket and could take things a step further by seeking to have an import ban imposed on the iPhone 8 and other iPhone’s in the US.

In a recent report by Bloomberg, an anonymous source, who claimed to be familiar with Qualcomm’s thinking told the publication. It’s confirmed the chip maker is now seeking to ask the International Trade Commission to impose an import ban.

What Is The International Trade Commission?

Much like other international bodies based in the US, the ITC is a judicial agency with the power to impose import bans. The fact that Qualcomm is using it means it wants to move quickly. As it often can hear and resolve cases much faster than federal district courts. It has now become the theater for where each company will make threats.

iPhone 8 and 7s Troubles

How quickly could an import ban happen? If Qualcomm has its way, it would be this year prior to any September iPhone 8 or 7s release. Could this be the reason for WWDC rumors suggesting the next iPhone could appear there? We don’t know, but, that would certainly put a dent in the chip maker’s plans.

However, if Qualcomm gets its way, Apple’s and it US fans hopes of seeing a 10th-anniversary device launch may have to be put on hold. After, all, we couldn’t see the company launching such a device elsewhere and forgoing its home market. As for further ramifications, such an import ban could mean less stock of current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is available. Even the iPhone SE could be affected, meaning, the popular handsets could be almost impossible to find in the USA.

Not Likely To Happen

The problem for Qualcomm is that history is against it. Yes, it has a point with regards to Patent law and the fact that Apple is not paying. But, any chance of imposing an import ban on the iPhone 8 or any other Apple product is highly unlikely. Why? Not only is the USA, the companies home market, one which President Donald Trump, wants production to return too. But. also past attempts by Apple itself to prevent its rivals from selling products in the US have proven to be futile.

Back in 2013 and 2015, Apple itself sought to have an import ban placed on a few different Samsung smartphones. However, it was not successful in doing so; the courts refused such an aggressive solution.

As for an iPhone 8 ban, Apple would, of course, use its considerable finances, and legal insight to challenge and prevent such an import ban from occurring. Will Apple, in the end, have to pay up? Qualcomm surely hopes so, because if the courts find against it, that could mean other companies begin to refuse to pay.

As this story progresses, we will keep you updated. In the meantime, what do you think, who is in the right? Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

Source: Bloomberg.