Apple plans iPhone software update to counter China ban

It's trying to get around an alleged infringement on Qualcomm patents.

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Sean Keane
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Apple is fighting to reverse a court-ordered ban on sales of some iPhone models in China.

Greg Baker / AFP/Getty Images

Apple will send out a software update to reverse a court ban on older iPhone models in China.

It'll push the update "early next week," according to Reuters, after a court ordered that Chinese subsidiaries stop selling the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

The ban stemmed from alleged infringement of two Qualcomm patents . Apple says its update will address the "minor functionality" of both.

Watch this: Are iPhones really banned in China?

The patents are related to adjusting and reformatting the size and appearance of iPhone photos, and managing apps using a touchscreen. They only affect iOS 11, Apple told CNBC, so the newer iOS 12 software doesn't infringe on Qualcomm's patent.

However, Qualcomm on Thursday asked Chinese courts to ban sales of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, which have iOS 12 preinstalled, based on the same patents, the Financial Times reported.

"Apple continues to disregard and violate the Fuzhou court's orders," said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel of Qualcomm, in an emailed statement. "They are legally obligated to immediately cease sales, offers for sale and importation of the devices identified in the orders and to prove compliance in court."

The companies have been battling over patents since January 2017, when Apple filed suit against Qualcomm for around $1 billion and said it didn't give fair licensing terms for its technology.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published at 5:25 a.m. PT.
Updated at 7:35 a.m. PT: Added Qualcomm statement.

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