Qualcomm wants to ban iPhones in China

Legal gavel and smartphone

A report, subsequently confirmed by both companies, states that Qualcomm is seeking to ban the sale and manufacture of Apple’s smartphones in China.

The story was broken by Bloomberg, which said that Qualcomm had filed law suits at a Beijing intellectual property court, claiming patent infringement and seeking injunctive relief – i.e. a ban on commercial activity. A Qualcomm spokesperson offered a generic confirmation of the action while an Apple spokesperson gave a generic statement on how baseless it all is.

This is just the latest phase of a litigation arms race between the two companies. Apple doesn’t like how much money it has to pay Qualcomm for its chips and, as ever, the move to litigation is a consequence of negotiations between the two companies breaking down.

The dispute threatens to engulf the entire industry as the two protagonists seek allies and indirect ways of inflicting damage on each other. Qualcomm recently suffered another setback to its business model with Taiwan concluding it has been harming competition. It seems very unlikely that Apple will receive an injunction in China but a negative ruling in this case could significantly undermine its negotiating position.

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