Chinese courts this week banned sales of several iPhone models, including the hugely popular iPhone X in response to Qualcomm’s patent lawsuit. The ban impacts Apple’s third largest market and one fifth of its revenue. Readers know that I have long warned, supported by academic research, that China threatens to takeover as the ‘go to’ country for IP rights. (See China Positioning Itself As A World IP Rights Leader).
Today’s news is all the more troubling because the same patent owner was unable to receive the same level of respect from American court’s for its IP. In November, Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California essentially forced Qualcomm into a compulsory licensing scheme in a partial summary judgement order. Erick Robinson previously told IPWire that “China continues to double down on IP enforcement and penalties.” Meanwhile, we continue to scale ours back.
Patent rights are regional and always have been. Once high tech companies figure out which countries offer meaningful patent rights, where do you think their investment efforts, research, and money are going to go?