Apple plans software update to get around Chinese iPhone ban

Apple has found a way to circumvent a Chinese court ban preventing it from selling iPhones in the country, the firm said.

US chip maker Qualcomm claims Apple violated two of its patents, which resulted in two preliminary injunctions in China earlier this week that force Apple to stop selling a wide range of iPhones there.

The ban accounts for almost every smartphone Apple has made in the last three years, including the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

In order to get around the ban, Apple said in a statement it would carry out software updates next week that will “address any possible concern” about the company’s compliance with the order.

The alleged intellectual property infringement relates to features allowing iPhone users to adjust pictures and manage applications.

“Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance,” a spokesperson told The Independent.

“Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case.”

The ban is yet to come into effect, with all models still available for sale on Apple’s website in China on Friday. Qualcomm said the court ruling would prevent Apple from importing and selling iPhones.

“We deeply value our relationships with customers, rarely resorting to the courts for assistance, but we also have an abiding belief in the need to protect intellectual property rights,” Qualcomm’s general counsel Dan Rosenberg said at the time of the ruling.

“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast portfolio.”

When asked about Apple’s plans to introduce a software update, Mr Rosenberg told The Independent that Apple is currently in violation of the court order.

“Apple continues to disregard and violate the Fuzhou court’s orders,” he said. “They are legally obligated to immediately cease sales, offers for sale and importation of the devices identified in the orders and to prove compliance in court.”

An Apple spokesperson previously described Qualcomm’s efforts to ban iPhone sales as “another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world.”


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