APPLE COULD BE FACING an import ban on some iPhone models in the US after a judge found it guilty of infringing a Qualcomm-owned patent.
In a preliminary ruling on Tuesday, International Trade Commission (ITC) judge MaryJoan McNamara said Apple had infringed on Qualcomm's US Patent No. 8,063,674, which relates to power management in computing devices.
As a result, McNamara recommended that iPhone models containing competing Intel modems might be blocked from shipping to the US.
"A complete recommendation on remedy and bond will be forthcoming together with findings of fact and an analysis of the effects of the public interest factors on the issue of remedy," McNamara wrote. "However, it should be noted that I will be recommending that a limited exclusion order together with a cease and desist order, both with certification provisions, issue against Apple."
Qualcomm's complaint had argued that iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices made with Intel chips infringe on the patent, though it's not clear if the proposed sales ban would affect other iPhone models as well.
While Qualcomm was pleased with the ruling, saying in a statement that it "appreciates Judge McNamara's recognition of Apple's infringement of our hardware patent", the judgement is still pending review by the ITC.
What's more, it's possible that the decision could change, as a separate ruling on Tuesday saw the ITC reject a proposed import ban after finding that Apple did not violate a Qualcomm-held patent, adding that some of Qualcomm's patent claims are invalid.
"We're pleased the ITC has found Qualcomm's latest patent claims invalid, it's another important step to making sure American companies are able to compete fairly in the marketplace," Apple said in a statement following the second ruling.
"Qualcomm is using these cases to distract from having to answer for the real issues, their monopolistic business practices."
These rulings come just a week after Apple was found to have violated three Qualcomm patents in certain iPhones, with a judge ruling that it must pay the chipmaker $31m in damages. µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score