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Apple again selling iPhone 7, iPhone 8 in Germany with only Qualcomm modems

An iPhone 8 in an Apple Store

Modified iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models are to go back on sale in Germany using Qualcomm modems instead of Intel, to avoid a ban in the country as part of an ongoing worldwide legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple.

Apple has announced that it will resume selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 in Germany and will do so using only Qualcomm processors instead of the Intel ones previously used. It said it had "no choice" but to do this following a Munich court's decision to ban sales of these models over a patent infringement case that Qualcomm won in December 2018.

The patent dispute is part of a larger legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple which continues worldwide. This particular case centered on Qualcomm's claim that its patents for modems were being infringed by an Apple supplier Qorvo Inc. While Qualcomm does not claim that Intel has infringed patents, the Qorvo chip was solely used in older iPhones that used Intel's modems.

An iPhone 8 in an Apple Store
An iPhone 8 in an Apple Store

According to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Qorvo has claimed it is not infringing on Qualcomm's patents. During the trial, Qualcomm refused to sign a confidentiality clause, leading Qorvo to refusing to argue the case for fear of divulging trade secrets.

Apple and Qualcomm are due to face each other in US courts in April over Apple's claims that the modem chip maker has used illegal patent licensing practices. In announcing the resumption of iPhone 7 and 8 sales, Apple told Reuters that: "Qualcomm is attempting to use injunctions against our products to try to get Apple to succumb to their extortionist demands."