A German regional court in Mannheim helped Motorola Mobility strike a major blow to Apple on December 9, 2011, when it ruled that Motorola Mobility won its patent dispute against Apple. The suit, “could spell a sales injunction against its products across Europe. A regional court in Mannheim, Germany ruled that Apple’s devices with cellular networking infringe Motorola-owned patent 1010336. This is the equivalent networking patent has detailed by U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898” (Zack Whittaker, ZDNET).
The lawsuit only mentions Apple’s iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the 3G enabled iPad and iPad2. Apple’s newer iPhone 4S was not mentioned in the case, but will probably be banned with the other devices. “Apple is expected to appeal for a stay on the injunction as it prepares its appeal” (Zack Whittaker, ZDNET). Things may not be so grim for Apple though, even though Germany is one of the largest mobile markets in Europe with one of the strongest economies, it may not be able to enforce its ban across all of Europe. A German court eased the ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab after Germany came to the conclusion that it could not enforce the ruling on all of Europe.
Apple has few options left since they were denied their FRAND (Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) license when Motorola convinced the courts that it would sustain damages larger than FRAND terms. Apple still has the option of attempting to obtain a license from Motorola, but it would allow Motorola to collect damages on Apple’s previous infringing products. “FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller says that the injunction is preliminarily enforceable against Ireland-based Apple Sales International, “in exchange for a €100 million ($134 million) bond”, unless Apple wins its stay. This means that should Apple win a stay on the injunction, Motorola would be liable to pay the bond should it fail in its bid later down the line to keep in the sales in place. The bond is significantly lower than the €2 billion ($2.7 billion) charge that Apple had asked for” (Zack Whittaker, ZDNET).
Joseph Sugabo is a freelance writer and tech enthusiast.