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Qualcomm may request detention of Apple's legal representatives in China

American chipset maker Qualcomm has the locus standi to request the detention of legal representatives of four Apple subsidiaries in China, claimed Qualcomm’s lawyer.

Dec 26, 2018 by A. Alfaro
Qualcomm may request detention of Apple's legal representatives in China

On 30 November, the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court found Apple guilty of infringing on two Qualcomm patents and issued a preliminary injunction barring Apple from selling iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X in China.

However, Apple continues to sell the iPhone models in question in China. Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock called Qualcomm’s move desperate. The models are also available online in Apple’s electronic store, TMall and JD.com.

The feud between Qualcomm and Apple has taken a new turn with the ultimatum from the former’s lawyer. The four subsidiaries include Apple Computer Trading (Shanghai), Apple Electronics Products Commerce (Beijing), Apple Computer Trading(Shanghai)and Apple Electronics Products Commerce (Beijing).

“Given that Apple continues to sell those products, Qualcomm has already requested to the court the enforcement of the ban. We are confident the court will handle the case accordingly”, said Qualcomm’s lawyer Jiang Hongyi.

Business media Cailianshe claimed to have an audio recording of the lawyer discussing the possibility of “requesting the detention of the legal representatives of those companies that refuse to implement the court’s ruling”. It could mean hefty fines, detention and restriction of movement for the representatives of Apple subsidiaries.

Qualcomm has filed 24 patent infringement lawsuits against Apple in Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian and Qingdao, said the lawyer. In some lawsuits, Qualcomm has included three new iPhone products namely iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR.

The intellectual property tribunal of the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court, established in September 2017, oversees the hearings. The first intellectual property court in China was established in Beijing in 2014 followed by Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing. The Supreme People’s Court sanctioned the establishment of six new intellectual property tribunals, including the one in Fuzhou, in August 2017. The courts handle cases involving patents, integrated circuits, designs, trade secrets, computer software etc.

Earlier, a German court issued a similar verdict against Apple. The court in Munich issued a sales ban after it found iPhone 7 and 8 models with Intel modems in violation of a Qualcomm patent. However, unlike in China, Apple temporarily stopped selling the contetious models.

A. Alfaro

A. Alfaro is a Beijing-based freelance reporter. He focuses on China's politics, culture and society. He can be reached at varofaro@gmail.com. 

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