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Motorola Wins Preliminary Injunction, Could Bar Sales of iPhone and 3G iPad in Europe [Updated x2]

FOSS Patents reports that Motorola Mobility has won an initial ruling in Germany that could allow the company to bar Apple from selling the iPhone and 3G-capable iPad models throughout the European Union. The court found that Apple's products violate a patent related to the GPRS data service used over cellular networks.


Interestingly, the patent in question is one that Apple had argued was essential to the GPRS standard, making Motorola required to license the technology under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms. The patent has indeed been declared essential to the standard, but the court ruled in Motorola's favor in part because Apple did not satisfy the requirements for making a binding offer to license the patent in question.
Essentially, they can't just hold a FRAND defense against a patent holder who's suing them. Instead, they have to proactively make efforts to procure a license on FRAND terms by making an irrevocable, binding offer to the patent holder and by posting a bond for ongoing royalties.

Only if the FRAND patent holder denies a license despite having such an offer on the table, the defendant can claim that an injunction would result in a violation of competition law and, as a result, should not be granted.
The suit officially names all iPhone models with the exception of the iPhone 4S, which was released after the case was initiated. The ruling would, however, still apply to the iPhone 4S given that the ruling generally covers all devices that implement the invention. 3G models of the original iPad and iPad 2 are also specifically named as infringing products.

In its ruling, the court ordered Motorola to post a $134 million bond should it wish to enforce the preliminary injunction against Apple, a sum that would be used to reimburse Apple should the injunction be overturned on appeal. Apple will obviously be appealing the ruling, and will also be requesting a stay to prevent the injunction from being enforced while the appeals process takes place.

Barring a successful appeal, Apple's options are to either obtain a license from Motorola for the patent in question or to engineer around the patent. But given that the patent's technology has been declared essential to the GPRS standard, the latter option may not be possible.

Update: Motorola Mobility has issued a press release announcing the victory.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling. Today’s decision validates Motorola Mobility’s efforts to enforce its patents against Apple’s infringement,” said Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility. “Motorola Mobility has worked hard over the years to build an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio that is respected by the telecommunications industry, and we are proud to leverage this portfolio to create differentiated innovations that enhance the user experience. We will continue to take all necessary steps to protect our intellectual property, as the Company’s patent portfolio and licensing agreements with companies both in the U.S. and around the world are critical to our business. We have been negotiating with Apple and offering them reasonable licensing terms and conditions since 2007, and will continue our efforts to resolve our global patent dispute as soon as practicable.”
Update 2: Apple has provided an official statement to AllThingsD noting that it will appeal the decision and that any potential injunction would not affect Apple's sales before the holidays.
“We’re going to appeal the court’s ruling right away,” an Apple spokesperson told AllThingsD. “Holiday shoppers in Germany should have no problem finding the iPad or iPhone they want.”

Top Rated Comments

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37 months ago
Instant karma?
Rating: 24 Votes
37 months ago

Well that's not good.


there's more.

Apple loses tablet case against small Spanish firm (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/02/us-apple-spain-idUSTRE7A16TZ20111102)

Australian High Court just says no to Apple appeal, Samsung breathes a sigh of relief (http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/08/australian-high-court-just-says-no-to-apple-appeal-samsung-brea/)

Motorola wins injunction against Apple Sales International in German patent dispute (http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/09/motorola-wins-injunction-against-apple-sales-international-in-ge/)

Chinese court rejects Apple's claim to the iPad name, faces potential sale ban (http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/07/chinese-court-rejects-apples-claim-to-the-ipad-name-faces-pote/)

interesting developments.

I think apple in this case might just pay Motorola and come to an agreement instead of engaging in a long court room battle, halting the sales. it would probably cost apple more to fight in court room.
Rating: 21 Votes
37 months ago
You shouldn't cheer for the law when it's "winning" for Apple and then root against it when it's "losing" for Apple... sort of defeats the purpose of the law. :rolleyes:
Rating: 20 Votes
37 months ago
*shakes head*

It's depressing to watch all of these patent battles. Everyone suing everyone else. Ridiculous.
Rating: 16 Votes
37 months ago
Well it's about time actually. Apple has been so litigious of late that they must expect some lawsuits to go against them and so must be ready to take their own medicine. I am getting so sick and tired of all of these lawsuits.
Rating: 15 Votes
37 months ago

Oh goody goody the Samsung / Motorola's Troll's are coming out.


Come now... Apple is doing the same thing to Samsung / HTC ... Everyone is suing everyone it seems.
Rating: 12 Votes
37 months ago

No one buys them in Germany anyway.

This could potentially affect the entire EU, not just Germany.
Rating: 11 Votes
37 months ago

No, but when Fritz wants an iPhone and he's told he can't have one, there might be hell to pay.

Moto got an injunction in Germany against sales of the most popular phone on the planet (for which Apple can barely meet demand), over an old 3G worldwide wireless FRAND-related patent that was collecting dust in a closet.

And people think THIS is payback??

Motorola, a **** company with bad products, horrendous product support, horrendous customer service, who almost had to go dark a couple of years ago, and who became little more than buyout bait a couple of years later, has not won anything here, other than a few dollars. Does this 'win" help magically cause the Xoom to be redesigned?

All that this will result in is a disservice to consumers, who will seek to get Apple gear from whatever other sources. Moto has neither the product quality, nor the support, nor the mindshare, nor the cachet to do anything about it.

And here one would think that Moto was granted an injunction on the relative strength of their products' design or something. Instead, they played a lame FRAND 3G wireless tech card like that other lame dinosaur Nokia. Because that's really all that these old, crumbling organizations have left. Any old-ass mobile company well past its sell-by date can pull out an old wireless tech patent and wave it in the air. But what does it mean exactly? Nothing.

And besides, it could all come to that: nothing. Motorola now can claim its right to stop the sales, but only after paying a "security deposit" of 100m€. It is not currently in place yet, and it's unsure if this might even happen, since Apple announced legal steps they will be taking against this ban (again).

Apple has product strength and commands vast consumer attention and desire, worldwide.

Motorola has an old patent, a dwindling bank account, and a suite of products that probably make even a no-name, low-budget Android OEM look innovative.


So, in other words, Apple should be free to steal anyone's IP without paying reasonable royalties - but if any other company so much as puts a rectangular device in a rectangular cardboard box Apple should be able to nail them for "trade dress" infringement.

You probably don't even realize how inconsistent your statements have become.
Rating: 10 Votes
37 months ago

HTC Sensation = Junk
Samsung Tablet = Junk

Why do you bother posting on a Mac/Apple forum? You seem to enjoy the low quality, non-Apple products. Go to those forums, and spout the virtues of those products...



It is possible to have both Apple and non-Apple products at the same time.
Rating: 9 Votes
37 months ago

Because immature android fanbois like to come to this forum and gloat like they personally have triumphed over something, and they're strutting like little boys on the playground. Plus, they're jerks. Unfortunately, they don't go away even if you ignore them.


As opposed to the immature Apple fanbois, who never gloated as if they personally triumphed when the initial rulings went in favor of Apple?
Rating: 8 Votes

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