Apple's Beats brand in April unveiled the Powerbeats Pro, a redesigned wire-free version of its popular fitness-oriented Powerbeats earbuds.
U.S. ITC Judge Says Apple Infringed on Qualcomm Patent, Import Ban Recommended [Updated]
According to the ruling, Apple violated claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 8,063,674, "multiple supply-voltage power-up/down detectors." Apple did not violate two other patents that were involved in the case, with the infringement limited to the '674 patent.
The judge has recommended an import ban on infringing iPhones, which would prevent them from being sold in the United States.
As CNET points out, this is not a final ruling, and will need to be approved by a panel of judges before it moves on to presidential review.
This is one of two patent infringement rulings expected from the ITC in the ongoing Qualcomm vs. Apple legal battle. Back in September, an initial ruling in a second case also found that Apple infringed on a Qualcomm patent related to power management technology.
The judge in that case recommended against an import ban because of "public interest factors."
Qualcomm wants the ITC to ban imports of AT&T and T-Mobile iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X models that use chips from Intel.
Qualcomm and Apple have been fighting in courts all over the world, and Qualcomm has successfully won import bans in China and Germany, which Apple has since skirted with software and hardware updates.
In the U.S., a jury recently found Apple guilty of infringing on three of Qualcomm's patents, recommending a fine of approximately $31 million in damages. Apple is appealing that ruling and the fight between the two companies is far from over.
Update: In a second patent infringement case that the ITC ruled on today [PDF], Apple was found not to have infringed on patented Qualcomm technology related to power management. This second ruling does not impact the first infringement ruling covered in the initial article.
Update 2: Apple provided Bloomberg with the following statement on the second ITC verdict: "We're pleased the ITC has found Qualcomm's latest patent claims invalid, it's another important step to making sure American companies are able to compete fairly in the marketplace. Qualcomm is using these cases to distract from having to answer for the real issues, their monopolistic business practices. They are being investigated by governments around the world for their behavior and we look forward to detailing the many ways they're harming consumers and stifling innovation when we present our case in San Diego next month."