Chinese court bans imports, sales of most iPhones

A Chinese court on Monday banned the import and sale of most iPhone models in China, granting two preliminary injunctions requested by chipmaker Qualcomm. 

The surprise decision is a victory for Qualcomm in its ongoing international dispute with Apple.

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The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Apple is violating software patents held by Qualcomm and issued injunctions against the sale of the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, Qualcomm said in a statement on Monday.

The most recent iPhone models are not covered by the ban because they weren't being sold at the time Qualcomm filed its patent case, The Wall Street Journal reported. Apple released three new iPhone models this year: the XS, XS Max and XR. 

Apple in a statement claimed the ban was a "desperate" move by Qualcomm. 

"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 said in the statement, according to Reuters.

Apple and Qualcomm are locked in court battles around the world, as Apple claims Qualcomm boosts its prices excessively and the chipmaker accuses Apple of stealing its intellectual property without compensation. 

The patents in question allow users to adjust and reformat photographs, and manage applications using a touch screen.

Apple could change its software and continue selling the iPhone models in China.

"Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us," Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's executive vice president and general counsel, said in the statement. "These Court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm's vast patent portfolio." 

Apple in a statement said that all iPhone models are still available in China. The practical implications of the ban are unclear so far. 

Later Monday, the company said it had filed a request with the court for reconsideration, the company's first step toward appealing the preliminary injunction.