Apple will tweak Chinese iPhones to comply with Qualcomm patent ruling

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Apple warned that the ban would hurt manufacturers like Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. - known also as Foxconn - and other suppliers. Apple claims that Qualcomm's patents cover "minor functionality" of the iPhone operating system.

In an attempt to comply with a Chinese court's recent ban on older iPhone models, Apple will issue a software update to iPhone units in China, according to Reuters.

Unsurprisingly Qualcomm disagreed. "Apple continues to disregard and violate the Fuzhou court's orders", Don Rosenberg, general counsel at the chip-maker, argued, suggesting that it wasn't down to Apple to decide what did and did not meet the terms of the court order.

Earlier this week, Qualcomm asked the Chinese government to ban the sale of some iPhone models in the country.

"We plan to use the same patents to file suit against the three new iPhone models", Jiang Hongyi, a lawyer at Lexfield Law Offices who is representing Qualcomm in its patent suits, told the FT, which first reported the news on Thursday.

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 Technologies Co and Xiaomi Corp. As a result, Apple announced a few hours ago that it will launch a software update to resolve any possible patent infringement.

Recently, a Chinese court ruled in favour of Qualcomm, which claimed Apple infringed on a couple of its patents.

But Apple isn't ready to capitulate to Qualcomm's demands.

The patent infringement suits are seen as Qualcomm's way of getting back at Apple, after the latter sued it in the United States in January 2017 for allegedly overcharging on patents.

We can only assume that next week we will learn whether the Chinese courts will grant Apple some leniency in this case.

However, Apple does not mince words when describing how destructive an Apple sales ban in China would be.

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