Despite having previously been banned in Germany, Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are again going on sale, according to reports. The whole situation stems from a legal spat between Apple and Qualcomm, with the latter winning out in a court ruling in December, which saw the older iPhones removed from sale.
Now, it’s become clear that those iPhones are not impacted by the ruling, with the part that Qualcomm believes infringed upon its patents not being present. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 use Intel modems, but the part that Qualcomm claims infringed upon its patent was actually made by another third party, and isn’t present in Intel’s modems at all, according to Reuters.
Qualcomm, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile chips, sued Apple in Germany alleging that some older iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models violated Qualcomm patents around so-called envelope tracking, a feature that helps mobile phones save battery power while sending and receiving wireless signals. The alleged patent violation stemmed not from Intel chips but yet another Apple supplier – Qorvo Inc – whose chip was only present in older phones with Intel modems.
Intel’s general counsel has also sought to distance its client from proceedings, saying “Intel’s modem products are not involved in this lawsuit and are not subject to this or any other injunction.” They’re right, and the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are again going on sale in Germany.
Both Apple and Qualcomm have been sparring for months, with Apple saying that the chip maker is “attempting to use injunctions against our products to try to get Apple to succumb to their extortionist demands.” That kind of language doesn’t make it sound like any sort of settlement is anywhere close to being achieved, despite claims by Qualcomm to the contrary.
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