Qualcomm seeks sales ban of iPhones in the United States

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Qualcomm is demanding a sales ban of the iPhone in the United States, as the ongoing row between the chipset maker and Apple escalates.

Qualcomm has asked the United States International Trade Commission to bar imports of iPhones, after accusing Apple of infringing six of its patents. While iPhones are designed in Apple's headquarters in California, they are assembled overseas. If approved, this request would effectively amount to a total sales ban.

The chipset maker said the sale of iPhones within the United States is infringing six of its patents, relating to the likes of battery, graphics and data transfer.

It is also seeking to ban the sale of iPhones that use cellular baseband processors from other companies. This relates to a spat from earlier this year, when it accused Apple of downplaying the performance of its chipsets compared to Intel's.

Don Rosenberg, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel of Qualcomm, said: “Qualcomm’s inventions are at the heart of every iPhone and extend well beyond modem technologies or cellular standards. The patents we are asserting represent six important technologies, out of a portfolio of thousands, and each is vital to iPhone functions. Apple continues to use Qualcomm’s technology while refusing to pay for it. These lawsuits seek to stop Apple’s infringement of six of our patented technologies.”

Qualcomm said it expected the International Trade Commission to start an investigation into the row next month. Apple was unavailable for comment.

The row was sparked in January, when Apple accused Qualcomm of withholding almost $1 billion in payments. It said Qualcomm was profiting from "technologies they have nothing to do with".

The US's Federal Trade Commission is also seeking action against Qualcomm, accusing it in January of charging Apple lower fees in return for exclusivity.