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Qualcomm wins court injunction banning Apple from importing older iPhones in China

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Apple says all iPhones are still available in China

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

Qualcomm just scored a major victory in its ongoing legal battle with Apple: the chipmaker won a preliminary injunction from a Chinese court that would ban the sale and import of many of Apple’s recent iPhone models in China, including the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, and X, via Axios. Apple downplayed the significance of the decision, noting to CNBC that iOS 12 (which is supported by all of the phones in the ruling) avoids the patent conflict. The company also says that it is still selling the devices in China.

Qualcomm has been trying to ban iPhone sales in China for over a year, following an attempt to ban sales in the US (although that ban has yet to be upheld by regulators). These bans are just one part of a long-ranging legal battle, which has seen accusations from Apple that Qualcomm was using its market dominance to unreasonably raise prices, and Qualcomm claiming that Apple stole Qualcomm’s source code to share with rival modem supplier Intel.

According to Reuters, the court ruled that Apple is violating software patents held by Qualcomm that are specifically related to resizing pictures and managing applications, meaning that Apple could easily update its software to circumvent the court order.

In a statement released to Reuters, Apple commented, “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.” Apple may have a point; Qualcomm has already been fined hundreds of millions of dollars for abusing its modem monopoly in Taiwan and China.

Despite that, Qualcomm is resolute on its stance: “Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us,” Don Rosenberg, general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement to Reuters. This legal victory for Qualcomm could mean that things will only continue to heat up between the two companies.