A Chinese court reportedly ordered Apple to stop selling older iPhone models in the country due to patent infringements, a move that shows China has the ability to exert pressure on US tech giants amid growing tensions, a Chinese analyst said.
The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court granted two preliminary injunctions against four Apple subsidiaries in China, Qualcomm said in a statement Monday night.
The patents allow consumers to adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and to manage applications using a touchscreen when viewing, navigating and dismissing applications on their phones, the statement said.
“Qualcomm and Apple have been entangled in a long-running legal dispute. China decided to announce the decision now and has implications on the rising US-China tensions in technology,” Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based analyst, told the Global Times on Monday.
Although the Qualcomm-Apple case has nothing to do with the arrest of Huawei’s CFO in Canada, the Chinese court banned some iPhone products in China to show “we’re capable of exerting some pressure on US tech giants as well,” he said.
Canadian authorities detained Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, on December 1 at the request of the US, which is seeking her extradition.
The arrest also sparked outrage among Chinese.
Apple’s share price slid about two percent in Monday morning trading on Wall Street.
“Qualcomm’s efforts to ban our products are another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world,” Apple said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday.
It also noted that all iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. “Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts,” Apple noted.
China is the second largest iPhone market, and the impact on the US smartphone maker will likely depend on how determined Chinese authorities will be to enforce the law, Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times.
“If Chinese authorities immediately enforce the law, almost all the older iPhone models will be banned from the Chinese market,” he said.