A court in Colombia has ordered a ban on 5G iPhone and iPad models in the country as part of a patent dispute between Apple and Ericsson.
Foss Patents’ Florian Mueller reports:
Less than six months after the current wave of Ericsson v. Apple patent infringement actions started, the first sales and import ban is already being enforced:
Apple is currently unable to sell 5G iPhones and iPads in Colombia, or import them into the South American country
Apple is appealing the order, but as it stands the company is banned from “the import, sale, commercialization, and advertisement of products infringing that patent” and is required to “warn and communicate” to shops, retailers, owners of social media platforms, mass media, and e-commerce platforms to ensure compliance.
Apple has also been barred from seeking an antisuit injunction to stop Ericsson from enforcing the ruling.
Mueller notes that Apple’s hands are tied by this extra ruling, so Apple is instead suing Ericsson for damages in Texas as a result of the ruling and “any fines, fees, penalties, and costs it incurs as a result of the Colombian injunction.”
Apple doesn’t have any retail stores in Colombia but does currently sell its products through a series of carriers and third-party retailers including offending products like the iPhone. As Mueller notes, another wrinkle is that as argued by Apple, Colombia does not currently have an active 5G network. however, he notes that it is possible an infringement may have already occurred during 5G testing or could occur in the future once 5G is live in the country, hence the ruling.
Apple and Ericsson are currently in a global patent dispute about 5G. A deal to license 3G and 4G tech between the two expired last year, with the two unable to reach an agreement on a new deal that included 5G technology. Apple requires Ericsson’s patents in order to make the connectivity work on its devices, hence why Ericsson is filing numerous lawsuits against the company.
This is the first injuction obtained against the iPhone since a Qualcomm patent suit in Germany in 2018, however that was aimed at older iPhones. A move like this against Apple’s current iPhone lineup is unprecedented.
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