back to article Chip-for-tat escalates: Qualcomm's billion-Euro bond to block Apple iPhone sales in Germany

Apple's iPhone 7 and 8 will remain off the shelves in Germany – after Qualcomm posted a €1.3bn (£1.17bn, $1.5bn) bond in case the December court ban is overturned on appeal. As part of the eternal, international patent rights battle between the two companies, Qualcomm sued Apple in Germany seeking the sales ban, and as we …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Don't worry QC

    Apple will soon be going belly up and you can return to business as normal and double dipping your dwindling number of customers. /s

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry QC

      It will be business far from normal when Qualcomm will has the licensees to pay up after Apple persuaded them not to pay licensing fees to Qualcomm and supported them in this. If Apple implodes, Enron style, the money will be gone.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Don't worry QC

        There's more chance of the iPhone XI running Android than there is of this spat bankrupting Apple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't worry QC

          Are you aware of the scale of punitive damages in the US? Treble damages is where it starts when there is wilful infringement. In the case of collusion with suppliers the term "punitive" will very much be damaging. I can still remember when Qualcomm brought Nokia down on their knees, something nobody had expected.

          This is not a question of liking the US system or not - we have no say in that. Instead it is about the scale of damages meted out by US courts.

  2. Trollslayer Silver badge

    A marriage made in Hell

    Those companies deserve each other.

  3. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Ré "Still on Sale"

    Just back from 3 weeks in China; saw only ONE, very small phone shop that MIGHT have had IOS devices for sale; store was closed so no way to tell if they were real or static display.

    In every major phone, tech and retail area, there was almost no sign of Apple; I did spot one booth (empty), and a few empty display cabinets in the basement area of another store.

    In the main shopping area for phones, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo etc, had huge 100ft wide store fronts, with stores running deep into the retail complex - the Apple store was a tiny 20ft x 20ft building isolated from the rest, and located right next to the public toilets.

    In China you do not want to spend ANY time within 100ft of a public toilet in any weather above freezing point!!

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    This patent nonsense is going too far

    I care not about defending IBM, but Qualcomm going to court because Apple is using someone else's chips. Apple is not copying Qualcomm's design. Either Qualcomm attacks IBM for violating its design, or I don't get how it can attack Apple and expect to win.

    If that is a patent violation then we need to get rid of patents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This patent nonsense is going too far

      Did you read the article? Theft of trade secrets is part of this. Is that acceptable with you?

      Also, got a source for Apple not having copied Qualcomm's technologies? I was not aware the court case had concluded.

      And if we get rid of patents, who will pay for developing the technologies? After all there was a lot of work going from GSM through all the generations to 5G, involving a lot of people who would like to be paid.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: This patent nonsense is going too far

        If it's hardware then it's not Apple breaking the patent - it's Intel since Intel built the chip. If it's software then it could be Apple. If it's Intel breaking patent because Apple shared trade secrets, then the beef isn't with Apple for patent law but for whatever trade secrets is...

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: This patent nonsense is going too far

        Well, clever boy, the German court in question has decided nothing except that Qualcomm made a claim that isn’t so unreasonable that it needs to be thrown out immediately, and that Qualcomm put up a bond to pay Apple’s damages if or when the claim is eventually turned down.

  5. Flakk Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Thank Goodness We've Found Another Way to Enrich the Lawyers

    They were doing so poorly for a while there. /s

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    third-party retailers could still offer the affected iPhone models

    Seems like a pretty half-hearted ban in Germany. Either the phones are infringing and therefore banned, or they aren't. How come 3rd party sellers are still allowed to sell them?

    1. gypsythief

      Re: third-party retailers could still offer the affected iPhone models

      My guess is that it would be unfairly penalising third party retailers by depriving them of a revenue stream, when it is Apple that may be at fault, not the third party retailers.

      It isn't "JoBloggsMobilePhonez4U.de" that's (allegedly) ripped off patents, so it seems fair (to me) to leave them out of the dispute by allowing them to carry on selling iPhones.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: third-party retailers could still offer the affected iPhone models

        "My guess is that it would be unfairly penalising third party retailers by depriving them of a revenue stream, when it is Apple that may be at fault, not the third party retailers."

        A good lawyer would argue that you are advocating the safe and legal sale of stolen goods :-)

        "I bought 'em in faith guv'nor!"

        I suppose it all depends on where the 3rd party retailers are getting their Apple phones from. If they buy via a non-Apple agent/importer, then it makes the ban fairly pointless if the importer isn't banned from importing them. If the exception for 3rd party retailers is only while they sell existing stock, then it sounds reasonable.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I don't know the numbers for people buying direct from Apple as opposed to 3rd party sellers in Germany, but in the UK a lot of people get their phone when they take out a contract with the phone networks. So if this is the same in Germany then the ban on sales is hardly going to put much of a dent in Apple's profits in the short term.

    I assume the ban does stop Apple importing more stock into the country to pass on to 3rd parties though? If it doesn't then it is hardly an effective ban as Apple could just ride it out without too much bother just restocking the 3rd parties as needed and still selling potentially infringing iPhones.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Apple could do worse. They could give everyone an iPhone XR who comes to their store to buy an iPhone 7, for the same price, and charged Qualcomm when Qualcomm ‘s claims are finally rejected.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Unless of course Qualcom are correct, and Apple just took the hardware/firmware to Intel and had them reverse engineer it.

        If Qualcom win, Apple will have lost their 3 main markets in the space of 12 months, because it it is upheld in Germany, it will soon be Europe-wide, and they have already lost China, with the US sales going down the pan as well.

        What few phone models they are still allowed to sell are unsellable without them halving the price (at least), and no way they can afford to do that; it would destroy their image.

        Watch for a new budget version of the XR being rushed out in the next 6-9 months, and at around the £3-400 mark.

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