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The sale of certain iPhone models has been prohibited by Courts in Germany

Written by Demi- Leigh Mason, a student at Southampton Solent University on 10 January 2019

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The well-known companies; Apple and Qualcomm have been in litigation back and forth regarding the ban of iPhone models. In Munich, the District Court enforced Apple with two permanent injunctions which affected some iPhone models, such as; iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The judgement successfully bans the sale of iPhones from Germany and also finds Apple liable for all damages.

It was reported that Qualcomm disputed that Apple used a microchip built by Oorvo in the affected iPhones, which infringed Qualcomm’s European Patent on the low-voltage power efficiency envelope tracker.

However, while it is usually the claimant’s responsibility to prove the infringement from the defendant, Qualcomm said it was impossible for them to know exactly how the Oorvo microchip worked. Qualcomm received a ‘teardown report’ which was generated by reverse engineering the chip from the iPhone. The German Court found that due to factual and procedural reasons, this was adequate to prove an infringement by Apple. Taken from the judges, it was Apple’s responsibility to counter Qualcomm’s statement by stating and describing in detail how the Oorvo microchip worked without infringing Qualcomm’s patent. Apple, however, did claim that it was not possible to provide such details as if doing so, would endanger Oorvo’s confidentiality securities.

This led the court to take Qualcomm’s allegation for granted, that the Oorvo microchip worked in such a way that it was infringing Qualcomm’s patent. As a result, Apple was ordered to stop selling any iPhones with the patent infringing microchip, and to provide details about all the sales of the affected iPhone models as well as to pay damages to Qualcomm.

The judgements can effectively be enforced before they are finalised, but in order to do so, Qualcomm must provide security for both cases. When looking at the potential effects when enforcing the judgement, the court ordered Qualcomm to pay around 668 million Euros to each case.

Qualcomm have recently announced that they will pay the security within a matter of days. Whereas, Apple has announced that they intend to appeal all judgements. This is unlikely to be the last we hear of the global litigation between the two companies, Apple and Qualcomm, as the Munich District Court has already scheduled another hearing in March 2019.

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