Apple Ordered to Pull Part of iPhone Germany Availability Statement in Qualcomm Case

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. was ordered to stop using part of a press release that claims all iPhones would still be available in Germany through phone companies and resellers after it was banned from distributing several versions of the device in the country.

Qualcomm Inc., which won an iPhone ban in December, on Thursday obtained a preliminary injunction stopping its rival from using a statement that Apple distributed to the press in response to the initial ruling. The court said Apple’s release was misleading because the December judgment also ordered Apple to recall the products from resellers, according to a copy of the decision obtained by Bloomberg News.

"The press release is misleading because it contains statements that are at least potentially deceptive about the availability of the goods," the judges wrote. "The statement conveys the impression of unlimited availability."

The same court in December granted Qualcomm an injunction banning sales of the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X in Germany, giving the chipmaker another weapon in its long and bitter licensing battle with Apple. In its subsequent press statement, Apple said while the devices would no longer be sold in its own stores, they would be still be available at mobile phone companies and resellers in 4,300 outlets in Germany.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, didn’t immediately reply to emails and calls seeking comment. A spokesman for Qualcomm said that the order “speaks for itself.”

The Munich court press department didn’t pick up calls for comment. Apple can appeal the ruling or ask for a full hearing on the issue.

Apple’s original press release had two paragraphs. The first paragraph, which wasn’t challenged by Qualcomm, said the chipmaker’s tactics were harming innovation and consumers.

The paragraph that the court ordered the company to remove contained information about the availability of the devices.

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