Apple was ordered by a Chinese court to stop selling older models of the iPhone after China found that the iPhone maker infringed on Qualcomm patents.
The Wall Street Journal, citing the Chinese court proceedings, reported that Apple was found to have infringed on two patents held by Qualcomm, which makes chips for the mobile phone market. The decision, which was meted out at the end of November, marks the first time Apple has been forced to stop selling iPhone models.
It also marks the latest development in a years-long fight between Apple and Qualcomm. Qualcomm has sued Apple in China in dozens of cases pertaining to patent infringement, reported The WSJ. Qualcomm told the paper that the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China found that Apple infringed on two non-standard essential patents, with one related to photo editing and another on swiping with a touchscreen.
Given that the ban is on sales of older iPhones, it shouldn't impact the phones launched in September, as they weren't being sold when the patent case was filed in court. The paper noted that it's not clear when the ban will go into effect, but that it will affect the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus. Those models were still on sale in China via Apple's website as of Monday (Dec. 10), noted the report. Apple plans to appeal the decision, and said that all iPhone models will remain on sale in China.
“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,” the spokesman said. The ruling against Apple comes as the U.S. and China have been embroiled in a months-long trade fight, with the U.S. firing the first salvo by imposing tariffs on more than $200 billion of Chinese goods. China retaliated with its own tariffs. The ban decision was also made before the arrest of a Huawei executive late last week.