South Korea is threatening to ban Apple’s iPhones and iPads over infringement of a key chip patent. The ban could affect models such as the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPad, and iPad Pro, and other devices using patented FinFET chip technology.
The country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy has been investigating alleged infringement of KAIST research university by Apple. KAIST’s patent on chip-shrinking technology FinFET has been essential in recent mobile processors. The ministry hasn’t yet decisively ruled on Apple’s infringement but has indicated it is likely to reach a final determination in KAIST’s favor – potentially banning Apple’s devices.
KIP successfully sued Samsung for infringing the same patent, winning a $400 million U.S. federal court judgment in June – a move which Samsung will appeal. If Samsung succeeds in invalidating KAIST’s patent, Apple can’t be held for infringement. The ministry state it is awaiting the results of Samsung’s appeal before announcing or enforcing a ban on Apple’s products.