Qualcomm patent ruling

Apple to tweak Chinese iPhones next week

An Apple store in Beijing. While iPhones remain on store shelves pending a decision on Apple's appeal, a negative outcome could affect its sales in the Chinese market that generates about a fifth of its revenue, at a time demand for the firm's signat
An Apple store in Beijing. While iPhones remain on store shelves pending a decision on Apple's appeal, a negative outcome could affect its sales in the Chinese market that generates about a fifth of its revenue, at a time demand for the firm's signature device is slowing.PHOTO: REUTERS

It is pushing software update as it appeals decision that it infringed Qualcomm patents

HONG KONG • Apple will push a software update to Chinese iPhone users early next week, aiming to modify functions that a local court found had infringed on a pair of key Qualcomm patents.

The US company said yesterday it was taking that step to ensure it complies fully with the ruling, which resulted in sales injunctions against six older versions of Apple's most important device.

The iPhone maker said the planned update would address features covered by patents, which involve adjusting photographs and managing apps via a touchscreen.

The Chinese court's ruling handed an initial victory to Qualcomm, which is locked in a worldwide dispute with Apple over the licensing fees it charges for the use of technology that underpins all modern phone systems.

The iPhone maker argues that Qualcomm abuses its position as the biggest supplier of smartphone chips, while Qualcomm counters that Apple is using its intellectual property without paying for it.

"Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance," Apple said in a statement. "To address any possible concern about our compliance with the order, 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."

ADDRESSING COMPLIANCE CONCERN

To address any possible concern about our compliance with the order, 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.

APPLE, in a statement.

The ruling from a local court - which came as Washington and Beijing embark on sensitive trade negotiations - pivots the battle over patent fees to the world's largest mobile arena. In a filing obtained by Bloomberg, Apple argues that a Chinese ban will force it to settle its bruising battle with Qualcomm - an outcome that may harm the country's smartphone industry by hiking licensing fees.

The iPhone maker has appealed the decision.

 

It is unclear what the envisioned software modifications will entail. But Apple's response underscores the importance of the Chinese market that generates about a fifth of its revenue, at a time demand for Apple's signature device is slowing.

While iPhones remain on store shelves pending a decision on Apple's appeal, a negative outcome could affect its sales in the world's biggest market for smartphones and benefit local rivals like Huawei and Xiaomi.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'Apple to tweak Chinese iPhones next week'. Print Edition | Subscribe