iPhone Imports Not Blocked by Trade Judge

On Friday, a U.S. trade judge decided not to block the importing of Apple iPhones with Intel Corp. chips handing a big defeat to chipmaker Qualcomm in its legal fight with the Cupertino, California tech giant.

A United States Trade Commission judge announced that Apple’s iPhones had infringed one patent of Qualcomm related to the technology involving power management, but denied the request by the chipmaker to ban the importing of some of Apple’s iPhones into the U.S.

Administrative law judge Thomas Pender with the ITC said the public interest factor has weighed against the granting of a request by Qualcomm for the ban. Other judges will review this decision.

Qualcomm, the largest chipmaker in the world for mobile phones has another patent case pending against Apple in front of the ITC.

Apple released a statement that said Qualcomm unfairly demanded payment of royalties for technologies that it did not have anything to do with.

Apple added in the statement that it was pleased with the ITC decision that stopped an attempt by Qualcomm to damage competition, and in the end harm phone innovators and consumers in the U.S.

In a separate prepared statement Qualcomm’s general counsel said the chipmaker was happy with the judge’s ruling of patent infringement, but it does not make sense to allow infringement to continue through not allowing the requested import ban to be put in place.

The iPhone maker and chipmaker have been locked in a prolonged legal dispute where Apple has alleged that Qualcomm’s patent licensing practices are unfair. Qualcomm in turn alleged patent infringement by Apple.

Qualcomm, based in San Diego, California, initiated a case with the ITC against Apply back in July of 2017, alleging that Apple’s iPhones that contained Intel chips had infringed on six of its patents describing technology that aids the performance of smartphones but does not drain the battery.

Qualcomm’s accusations did not allege Intel chips had violated patents, but claimed Apple’s implementation of them in iPhones did.

The ITC has become a popular venue for disputes involving patents because it is able to handle the cases rather quickly and can bar infringing products from the U.S. market easily.

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