Qualcomm enforces ban to halt some Apple iPhone sales in Germany

Apple was ordered to stop the sale, offer for sale and importation for sale of all infringing iPhones in Germany. (AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019

Qualcomm enforces ban to halt some Apple iPhone sales in Germany

  • Gravis, Germany’s biggest reseller of Apple products, said on Friday that it still had all Apple products on sale

MUNICH: US chipmaker Qualcomm took steps to enforce a court order banning the sale of some iPhone models in Germany following a patent dispute, a move that will likely see Apple Inc. pull those models from its German stores.
A spokesman for Gravis, Germany’s biggest reseller of Apple products which is owned by telecoms company Freenet, said on Friday that it still had all Apple products on sale, including the iPhone 7 and 8 models.
The German case is Qualcomm’s third major effort to secure a ban on Apple’s lucrative iPhones over patent infringement allegations after similar moves in the United States and China, and is part of a global patent spat between the two companies.
Qualcomm posted bonds of €1.34 billion ($1.5 billion) on Thursday, as required for the German court order to come into effect. The court found on Dec. 20 that Apple had infringed Qualcomm patents on power-saving technology used in smartphones.
Apple said in a statement after the verdict last month that it would pull iPhone 7 and 8 models from its own 15 retail stores in Germany during an appeal process once the order came into force. However, it also said it would continue to offer all of its phones at thousands of retail and carrier locations across Germany, a direct contradiction to Qualcomm’s interpretation of the order.
A spokeswoman for the Munich regional court told Reuters on Friday that Apple had appealed the court’s Dec. 20 ruling.
Apple, which had also said it planned to appeal the court decision, declined to comment on Qualcomm’s most recent move on Friday, only referring to its statement after the verdict.
According to the court order, Apple has to stop the sale, offer for sale and importation for sale of all infringing iPhones in Germany.
The court also ordered Apple to recall the affected iPhones from third-party resellers in Germany, according to a statement by Qualcomm.
Kai Ruting, a German lawyer not involved in the case, said the court order was directed at Apple entities rather than third parties.
“These third parties are still free to sell the (affected) iPhones, and they sell the majority of iPhones,” Ruting said, adding, “the question of a settlement will be driven by the US litigation and not the German case.”
Ruting said that Apple had strong arguments for the German court’s ruling to be reversed on appeal. If that happens, Qualcomm’s bond will be used to compensate Apple, he said.
Apple’s announced intention to pull iPhones from stores in Germany contrasts with how it has handled a court decision in China, where there was a much broader ban on iPhone sales after a court ruled the devices violated Qualcomm’s patents. Apple has continued to sell phones in China, saying it believed its phones were legal in the country.
Still, Apple also pushed a software update to address concerns over whether it was in compliance with Chinese courts.
Qualcomm has said those software updates were insufficient and that Apple must still withdraw its phones. Apple had filed a request for the Chinese court to reconsider its decision, but no outcome has been announced.


Huawei given 90 days to buy from US suppliers

Trader Tommy Kalikas works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (AP)
Updated 20 August 2019

Huawei given 90 days to buy from US suppliers

  • Shortly after blacklisting the company in May, the Commerce Department initially allowed Huawei to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers

WASHINGTON: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday the US government will extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from US companies so that it can service existing customers, even as nearly 50 of its units were being added to a US economic blacklist.
The “temporary general license,” due to expire on Monday, will be extended for Huawei for 90 days, he told Fox Business Network Monday, confirming an expected decision first reported Friday by Reuters. He also said he was adding 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, raising the total number to more than 100 Huawei entities that are covered by the restrictions.
Ross said the extension was to aid US customers, many of which operate networks in rural America.
“We’re giving them a little more time to wean themselves off,” Ross said.
Shortly after blacklisting the company in May, the Commerce Department initially allowed Huawei to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers.
The extension, through Nov. 19, renews an agreement continuing the Chinese company’s ability to maintain existing telecommunications networks and provide software updates to Huawei handsets.
Asked what will happen in November to US companies, Ross said: “Everybody has had plenty of notice of it, there have been plenty of discussions with the president.”
When the Commerce Department blocked Huawei from buying US goods earlier this year, it was seen as a major escalation in the Sino-US trade war.
The US government blacklisted Huawei, alleging the Chinese company is involved in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.

BACKGROUND

The US blacklisted Huawei, alleging the Chinese company was involved in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.

As an example, the blacklisting order cited a pending federal criminal case concerning allegations Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran. Huawei has pleaded not guilty in the case.

The order noted that the indictment also accused Huawei of “deceptive and obstructive acts.”
At the same time the US says Huawei’s smartphones and network equipment could be used by China to spy on Americans, allegations the company has repeatedly denied.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, is still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without additional special licenses.
Many Huawei suppliers have requested the special licenses to sell to the firm. Ross told reporters late last month he had received more than 50 applications, and that he expected to receive more. He said on Monday that there were no “specific licenses being granted for anything.”