Judge recommends blocking some iPhones from entering the United States

Posted at 9:27 PM, Mar 26, 2019

Apple and Qualcomm are slugging it out over patents around the world. Tuesday brought two more decisions.

A US trade judge recommended banning certain iPhones that are imported to the United States, saying Apple violated one of Qualcomm’s patents in some devices.

Although Apple is an American company, iPhones are assembled overseas and shipped to the United States and other countries.

In her two-page ruling, International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge MaryJoan McNamara did not specify which iPhones she thought must be banned from the United States.

The ruling will not take effect until both the full ITC panel and President Donald Trump review McNamara’s decision.

Presidents have overturned import bans before, including in 2013, when President Barack Obama overruled an ITC court decision to ban certain iPhones. The ITC ruled in that case that Apple had violated some of Samsung’s patents.

In a separate case decided on Tuesday, the ITC decided in favor of Apple in a case that goes back to 2017.

“We’re pleased the ITC has found Qualcomm’s latest patent claims invalid,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “It’s another important step to making sure American companies are able to compete fairly in the marketplace.”

Qualcomm was immediately available to comment on the ITC rulings.

In this long-running feud, both companies have at times come out on top.

In December, a Chinese court banned the sale and import of most iPhone models following a lawsuit from Qualcomm.

But in 2017, Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion after the chipmaker stopped paying for the exclusive right to put its chips in iPhones.

Qualcomm withheld its payments after the European Union began investigating them. The EU ultimately deemed the payments illegal, and in January 2018, the European Commission ordered Qualcomm to pay a $1.2 billion fine over the issue.

Last summer, Qualcomm said Apple would no longer include its modems in iPhones.

Apple’s stock fell 1% Tuesday. Qualcomm’s stock rose more than 2%.

— CNN Business’ Julia Horowitz contributed to this report.

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