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ITC judge denies Qualcomm's request, won't stop iPhone imports

Qualcomm said the decision 'makes no sense.'

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An Apple Inc. iPhone XS Max, center, and iPhone XS smartphones sit on display during a sales launch at a store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Bloomberg via Getty Images

While the patent lawsuit battle between Qualcomm and Apple is far from over -- remember how long it took for things to get settled with Samsung? -- we do have an update. On Friday, U.S. International Trade Commission judge Thomas Pender found (PDF) that the iPhones violate one of Qualcomm's patents, but still refused to block imports of the devices. Their squabble is focused on Apple's use of Intel chips instead of those made or licensed by Qualcomm, and how they're being used in some iPhones.

According to Pender, "statutory public interest factors" weighed into his decision against issuing a ban. Other judges will review the decision, but as Bloomberg explained, if this holds up it removes a tool Qualcomm could use as leverage for a possible settlement from Apple. Reuters quoted Qualcomm lawyer Don Rosenberg saying "It makes no sense to then allow infringement to continue by denying an import ban."

Apple is glad its imports haven't been banned, while Intel's general counsel, Steve Rodgers published a blog post that said "(Qualcomm) publicly disparaged Intel's products – products created by the innovation and hard work of dedicated teams of scientists and engineers at Intel." We'll see everyone soon for the next round.

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