A Chinese court has ordered a ban on the sale of several older Apple Inc iPhone models in China for violating two patents of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, although Apple said all of its phone models remained on sale in the mainland.
The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patents dispute between the two U.S. companies that includes dozens of lawsuits. It creates uncertainty over Apple's business in one of its biggest markets at a time when its falling share prices reflect concerns over waning demand for new iPhones.Apple said on Monday it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court, the first step in appealing the ban.Qualcomm said the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models, from the 6S through the X.China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are Apple's third-largest market, accounting for about one-fifth of Apple's $265.6 billion in sales in its most recent fiscal year.Apple responded by saying that "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."
In July, the same court banned the import of some microchips by Micron Technology Inc into China, citing violation of patents held by Taiwan's United Microelectronics CorpApple shares rose less than 1 percent to $169.60, recovering from an early drop when it became clear phones were still on sale, and Qualcomm stock rose $2.2 percent to $57.24.
The ruling comes as Beijing and Washington are locked in a tense trade dispute. The two sides have agreed to trade negotiations that must be concluded by March 1.Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of its founder, was arrested on Dec. 1 in Canada at the behest of the United States for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions. A Canadian court is weighing whether to grant bail to Meng, who is facing possible extradition to the United States. Beijing has demanded her immediate release and threatened "consequences" for Canada.Qualcomm officials said tensions between the two nations had no bearing on the ruling. The company has had its share of troubles in China, from an unfavorable 2014 antitrust ruling to regulatory limbo that doomed its $44 billion bid for Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors.