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Apple pulls some iPhone models from German stores

Orange Apple logo.
Photo: Lin Zejun/VCG via Getty Images

Apple said Thursday it would temporarily stop selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in its stores in Germany after a court there issued an injunction in a Qualcomm-related lawsuit.

Details: The ruling applies to iPhones that infringe on a Qualcomm patent related to power management, specifically those with an Intel modem and a chip from Qorvo.

  • Apple said it will appeal the decision and, in the meantime, continue to sell the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max in its 15 stores, adding that the older models remain available from carriers and retailers.
  • In order to have the injunction enforced, Qualcomm is required to post a hefty bond in case the decision is later overturned. Qualcomm said it plans to do so in a matter of days.

The context: The ruling follows a separate injunction issued recently in China over different patents. Apple issued a software update and continues to sell all iPhone models there.

  • Apple and its allies, meanwhile, are readying for an FTC trial against Qualcomm over its business practices, which is slated to start Jan. 4.

What they're saying:

  • Apple: "Qualcomm’s campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers.  Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn’t do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior."
  • Qualcomm: "Two respected courts in two different jurisdictions just in the past two weeks have now confirmed the value of Qualcomm's patents and declared Apple an infringer, ordering a ban on iPhones in the important markets of Germany and China."
  • Intel: "Qualcomm's goal is not to vindicate its intellectual property rights, but rather to drive competition out of the market for premium modem chips, and to defend a business model that ultimately harms consumers."
  • Qorvo: "We believe our envelope tracking chip does not infringe the patent, and the court would have come to a different conclusion if it had considered all the evidence. We're disappointed that the inventor and designer of our chip, who attended the hearing, wasn't given the opportunity to testify."

The bottom line: This case was already one of the biggest legal battles in tech, and the latest rulings have only increased the stakes.

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