German court dismisses Qualcomm's latest patent case against Apple: Report

Yet the ban on the iPhone 7 and 8 in Germany still stands.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Qualcomm's latest patent lawsuit against Apple has been dismissed by a German court on Tuesday, with the regional Mannheim court saying the patent in question was not violated by the installation of its chips in Apple's smartphones, Reuters reported.

The chipmaker argued the Intel-powered iPhones infringed on a transistor switch patent it holds, which the court found to be groundless in its initial decision. It is reported that Qualcomm will appeal the decision.

"Apple has a history of infringing our patents" Qualcomm's executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said, according to Reuters.

"While we disagree with the Mannheim court's decision and will appeal, we will continue to enforce our (intellectual property) rights against Apple worldwide." 

Read more: Apple cuts Q1 revenue outlook due to weak iPhone sales, Chinese market

The patent lawsuit is one of many in the ongoing patent war between the two tech giants, with Qualcomm in December winning a separate court decision in Munich that banned the German sale of Apple's iPhone 7 and 8.

To enforce this ban, Qualcomm earlier this month posted security bonds worth €1.34 billion, which was a requirement of the District Court of Munich, on the basis that should Apple appeal and win, damages caused by the sales ban would be covered.

"[Qualcomm's] tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn't do, and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior," Apple said at the time.

While Apple's 15 retail stores and its online store in Germany do not currently sell the iPhone 7 and 8, the devices are still available through carriers and resellers for German consumers.

In the same month, Qualcomm also won a similar injunction in China that applied to the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

For the Chinese case, the patents Qualcomm claims are being infringed are used to adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and manage applications using a touch screen when viewing, navigating, and dismissing applications on their phones.

Apple, which is contesting the Chinese ruling, continues to offer its iPhones in China but has made changes to its iOS operating system following the court order.

Read more: Qualcomm President Amon is convinced you're going to be thrilled with 5G

Qualcomm, meanwhile, was ordered in November to make patents -- which are essential for modern modem chips -- available to rival companies. The US District Court for the Northern District of California granted a partial summary judgment against Qualcomm which was requested by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Another lawsuit that is currently in-progress between Qualcomm and Apple is the former's claims that the iPhone-maker owes $7 billion in patent licensing fees. Apple disputes these claims, arguing that Qualcomm is forcing it to pay for the patents twice -- once for using Qualcomm's chips, and then again for patent royalties. 

Apple claims that such a system is "double-dipping," leading to the tech giant withholding royalty payments until the matter was resolved.

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