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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A Chinese court has banned the sale of a number of recent iPhone models citing infringement of two Qualcomm patents, the San Diego chipmaker said on Monday.

Why it matters: The preliminary injunction blocks the sale and import of iPhones into China, but not the manufacture or export of the devices, so the direct impact is limited to the domestic Chinese market. Still, it represents a significant disruption to Apple's business and could bring the two parties to the negotiating table in their long litigation war. Apple said Monday it has filed a request for reconsideration with the court, the first step in appealing the preliminary injunction.‬

Details:

  • The order prevents the sale and import of the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X.
  • The injunction relates to a pair of patents, one covering the way applications are managed on a smartphone and the other about how customers adjust and reformat photos.

Be smart: Companies will often change their software in such cases, where possible, to avoid infringement rather than halt sales of a key product.

The big picture: The two companies have a range of litigation in courtrooms around the world on issues ranging from patents to the breaking of contracts and other issues. Apple recently said in a San Diego court that the two sides have not been in talks and a trial in that case was set for April.

What they're saying:

  • Apple: "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. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”
  • Qualcomm: "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.”

Update 1:35 ET: Apple is appealing the decision.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.