Fri Dec 21, 2018, 08:42 AM

Apple yanks iPhones from sale in Germany and maybe China, too amid Qualcomm spat

The iPhone has been removed from sale in Germany after a Munich court issued an injunction against Apple amid its ongoing patent fight with Qualcomm.

The iGiant acknowledged that its flagship product had been taken off the shelves in all its stores in Germany, although it will still be available through third parties. Apple said it would appeal the injunction, which is almost identical to another one issued last week in China.

The extraordinary action follows a bitter fight between Apple and Qualcomm for the past two years over Intel-made wireless broadband modems, which Qualcomm says infringe six of its patents. In 2016, Apple started using a mix of Qualcomm and Intel radio modems in its smartphones, rather than exclusively Qualcomm parts, much to the latter's rage.

The feud kicked into high gear in January 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm claiming that it was charging "excessive patent royalty fees" for its cellphone technology. It asked for a billion dollars in compensation.

Apple said Qualcomm was charging five times the going rate for patent licences and argued that the company had withheld payments to Apple in retaliation for Apple cooperating with the Korean authorities in a probe that eventually led to Qualcomm being hit with an $853m fine. It has been all-out warfare since.

Apple sued Qualcomm in China for $145m. And then sued again in the United States in an effort to invalidate Qualy's patents. In response, Qualcomm sued to get an iPhone import ban in America. But before things really got out of hand, Qualcomm's CEO offered Apple an olive branch… which Apple threw into the garbage because it figured – with good reason – that Qualcomm was suffering financially from the fight and it could outlast the big Q.

Then things got really nasty:

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