CHIPMAKER Qualcomm has suffered a blow in its patent fight against Apple after a US judge denied its request for an import ban on Intel-powered iPhones.
Thomas Pender, an administrative law judge at the International Trade Commission (ITC), ruled that while Apple's iPhones infringe one Qualcomm patent related to power management technology, "public interest factors" weighed against granting Qualcomm's request for a ban.
"It is my recommendation that the statutory public interest factors weigh against issuing a limited exclusion order as to the products found to infringe the patents asserted in this investigation," Pender wrote.
Qualcomm, which is seeking a US import ban on iPhones that use chips by rival firm Intel, said that it is "pleased" that the ITC found Apple infringed one of its patents, but added that it makes no sense to then allow infringement to continue by denying an import ban.
"That goes against the ITC mandate to protect American innovators by blocking the import of infringing products," said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's general counsel.
He added that "there are many ways Apple could stop infringing our technology without affecting the public interest. We look forward to a full ITC commission review in the coming months and continue to pursue the more than 40 other patent infringement cases we have brought against Apple globally."
Apple said in a statement that "Qualcomm has continued to unfairly demand royalties for technologies they have nothing to do with to protect their monopoly.
"We're glad the ITC stopped Qualcomm's attempt to damage competition and ultimately harm innovators and US consumers," a spokesperson added.
Intel has also weighed in on the situation, issuing a strongly-worded statement that dispute's Qualcomm's recent accusations that Apple of stealing "vast swaths" of trade secrets and passing them on to rival Intel in order to improve its modem chips.
"It is easy to say things. But Intel's track record is clear," Intel general counsel Steven Rodgers wrote on the company's website.
"As one of the world's largest patent holders, Intel respects intellectual property. But we also respect truth, candor and fair competition. And we look forward to continuing to compete with Qualcomm." µ
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