A Chinese anti-counterfeiting alliance stated on Thursday that Apple must respect a court’s decision to ban the sale of certain iPhone models in China, alleging that subsidiaries affected by the order are ignoring the demand related to a Qualcomm patent infringement case.
Beginning in early December, two preliminary injunctions were issued against four Apple subsidiaries in the country, effectively prohibiting the import and sale of iPhones running iOS 11 or older operating systems. The ban, initiated by Qualcomm, applies to the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X but excludes the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, as well as iOS 12-powered devices.
According to CNBC, the China Anti-Infringement and Anti-Counterfeit Innovation Strategic Alliance assert that the subsidiaries disobey the court order and do not respect the court.
“The Alliance has observed that the four Chinese subsidiaries of Apple Inc. in question have not complied with this order and have even refused to accept the court’s written injunction order,” reads a statement from the alliance. “Such an act has garnered widespread attention, sparked heated debates, and even provoked widespread outrage in China and abroad.”
Apple is then urged to comply with the court’s order “rather than defy and even tramp the Chinese law by leveraging its super economic power and influence.”
As a non-governmental organization whose mission is to protect intellectual property rights with no actual legal authority to compel action, it is unclear to what extent the alliance’s statement will affect Apple. According to reports, the group consists of a variety of trade associations and universities, as well as major corporations such as Alibaba, JD.com, and Xiaomi.
The ban was enacted as a result of a 10 December ruling in favor of Qualcomm, which accused Apple of infringing on software patents relating to photo resizing and app management on a touchscreen device. Apple attempted to circumvent the ban by releasing a software update to make infringing iPhones compliant, even though the ban affected older iOS versions.
Qualcomm has since presented evidence to a court that Apple has violated the sale and import ban and argued that it should be extended to the 2018 iPhone releases.
Using agreements between its assemblers and Qualcomm, Apple is reportedly also looking for other ways to circumvent the sales ban. It is believed that iPhones manufactured by Pegatron are exempt from the ban, whereas those manufactured by Foxconn and Wistron are blocked. This is attributed to Pegatron’s payment of a license fee for the contentious software.
The China-based activities are only a portion of the overall patent dispute between Apple and Qualcomm, which includes a German ban on the iPhone 7 and 8 and an April court battle in the United States.