A couple of months ago, after Apple was barred from importing and selling some iPhone models in China, Qualcomm was granted a second injunction against Apple, which banned the brand from selling some iPhone models in Germany.
While Apple is working to reverse the ban, the company is reportedly planning to work on implementing hardware changes to some of its higher-selling devices in order to continue their sales in the Germany market.
According to the report, Apple is currently examining the possibility of creating a slightly modified version of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models in Germany. Aside from software changes, the models will apparently have an infringing component pulled from the design and replaced with another.
The components, which was the cause of the injunction, were produced by Apple supplier Qorvo, and are alleged to have violated an “envelope tracking” patent held by Qualcomm. This is related to a method of conserving battery power while the modem is active.
If the report turns out to be true, then this would provide Apple not only a way to continue selling its popular iPhone models in Germany, but also without having to pay Qualcomm a patent licensing fee for the freshly-produced models.
As per the ruling in Germany, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be sold in its 15 retail stores in Germany. Notably, it does not include new iPhone models such as iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
At that time, in a statement, Apple said, “We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany.”
The German case is the chipset maker’s third major effort to secure a ban on Apple’s lucrative iPhones over patent infringement allegations. The company had earlier filed such cases in the United States and in China. It was also Qualcomm’s second major win against Apple after a Chinese court granted an injunction against Apple for an alleged patent violation earlier this month.
The Apple-Qualcomm case is part of a broader court conflict between the two technology giants in which Apple has alleged that Qualcomm engaged in anti-competitive business practices for a monopoly on its modem chips.