As the iPhone ban looms in China, Apple plans to release a software update to ensure that iPhones no longer violate Qualcomm’s patents. Moreover, in the ongoing Apple vs. Qualcomm case, the U.S. firm has filed a reconsideration request with the Chinese court.
Minor update to help end further trouble
Apple told Reuters on Friday that it will release software updates for iPhone users in China to address potential issues. The U.S. firm said it plans to push out the updates early next week “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order.”
Earlier this week, Qualcomm secured an injunction order against Apple banning the sales and import of some older iPhone models in China. The chip maker alleges that the affected iPhones infringe on two of its patents. After the ruling was announced, Apple said only the devices running pre-iOS 12 software are violating the patents in question.
“Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance,” Apple told Reuters.”Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case.”
As of now, not much is known about exactly how the software update will help in this Apple vs. Qualcomm patent battle.
iPhone ban in China is not likely
Qualcomm claimed previously that the injunction bans the sale and import of almost all iPhone models in China. However, it appears the order hasn’t been implemented yet. Apple said earlier this week that all iPhone models will continue to remain available in China. As of the time of this writing, all iPhone models are available on Apple’s China website.
Intellectual property lawyers say the iPhone ban will take some time to enforce. The injunction is only applicable to older models — from the iPhone 6 through the iPhone X. However, Qualcomm has filed a request to extend the iPhone ban to the 2018 iPhones and iOS 12.
Meanwhile Apple has filed a reconsideration request with the Chinese patent court asking it to reconsider its ruling, according to Bloomberg. The company argues that the injunction must be lifted because selling iPhones does not cause “irreparable harm” to Qualcomm, an important consideration for granting the preliminary injunction.
In its reconsideration request, Apple says the iPhone ban will affect its Chinese suppliers and customers and result in a tax revenue loss for the government. Further, the filing says the injunction could force Apple to settle the case with Qualcomm. However, it is not clear if Apple is referring to just settling the case in China or if it means the entire global dispute.
In the filing, Apple notes that a ban could result in smartphone manufacturers returning to an “unreasonable charging mode and pay[ing] high licensing” fees to Qualcomm. This would eventually be bad for customers.
“Apple and many other companies, consumers, and government will suffer truly irreparable harm,” the filing claims.
Further, Apple notes that an iPhone ban in China would cost it millions of dollars daily. The company added that it has created about 5 million jobs in the country, including positions related to app development and within its supply chain.
“A settlement would be the last resort but losing this appeal would be another gut punch for Apple and potentially force their hand,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said said in a recent note.
What is the Apple vs. Qualcomm case about?
Qualcomm filed a case against Apple in China in late 2017, accusing the U.S. firm of violating its patents related to resizing photographs and managing apps on a touchscreen.
The Apple vs. Qualcomm case in China is part of a bigger global patent dispute between the two tech giants. The case could affect Apple’s business in one of its biggest markets at a time when the lower-than-expected demand for the new iPhone models is pressuring its stock price.
In the Apple vs. Qualcomm case, the iPhone maker argues that the chip maker is abusing its position as a leading supplier of mobile chips. On the other hand, Qualcomm alleges that Apple has been using its intellectual property without permission, and the case is aimed at forcing the chip maker to reduce its licensing charges.
Some Chinese smartphone makers have also been accusing Qualcomm of abusing its position. However, the chip maker told Chinese authorities that using its technology will protect handset makers and help them expand overseas.