Apple Claims Potential Injunction Against iCloud Could Result in $2.7 Billion Loss

icloud icon textFOSS Patents reports that a pending court case in Germany could have significant ramifications for Apple, with a potential injunction shutting down the company's iCloud service there over infringement of a Motorola Mobility patent being pegged as a $2.7 billion risk to Apple.

In brief, Motorola asserted last year that Apple's MobileMe service infringes upon a Motorola patent related to data synchronization. Motorola amended the suit to include iCloud once that service was introduced later in the year. While an official ruling on an injunction isn't due until February, Motorola has already won an initial default judgement involving the patent and FOSS Patents reports that the presiding judge is not looking terribly favorably on Apple's defense so far.

The court doesn't appear to buy any of Apple's defenses at this stage. It may still change mind until the ruling, which is scheduled for February 3, 2012, 9 AM local time, but if it had had to rule today, I have no doubt that Apple would have lost.

If Motorola wins its case and an injunction is granted, Apple could be forced to pull all of its products in Germany that contain the infringing iCloud integration. It is typical in German courts to require winning parties to post bonds in order to guarantee repayment of lost income should the defendant win an appeal of the ruling, and Apple has asked that Motorola be required to post a 2 billion euro ($2.7 billion) bond in this case.

The court was wondering whether that hefty amount truly reflects the economic damages Apple would suffer from enforcement, given that the iCloud is only one Apple offering and doesn't correspond to the entire value of its products. But Apple's lawyers insisted that an enforcement against its product sales in Germany could result in damages of that magnitude.

The judge raised the possibility of Apple developing a workaround for iCloud to avoid infringing Motorola's patent, but Apple's lawyers pressed their case that the risk to Apple's business was indeed still severe.

Apple obviously has a vested interest in setting as high a bond as possible, forcing Motorola to put up a significant amount of money if it wishes to press forward with an injunction. The figure represents a substantial commitment on Motorola's part and makes clear that Apple will move to recover that money should an injunction be granted and later overturned, thus increasing Motorola's own risk in the proceedings. But while Apple may be artificially inflating its risk somewhat, it does still have to justify the figure to the court and is clearly working to do just that.

Top Rated Comments

flash84x Avatar
120 months ago
I'm so sick of this patent **** on every side. How the **** do you patent a process such as synchornization? I could possibly understand the methods used to acheive the synchornization, but the entire process itself? What the ****.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleScruff1 Avatar
120 months ago

Great to see Apple getting a taste of their own medicine. They will soon realize that companies like Motorola, Nokia, Microsoft have been in this a lot longer than they have, and likely have a ton of patents related to mobile technology that Apple infringes on.


Good points, and the truth. Apple has done as much copying and stealing as everyone they are suing.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
something3153 Avatar
120 months ago



How does one patent cloud based synchronization? That seems like a patent that should have never been given out.

Does someone own corded charging? Browser integration? File downloading?


A grid of colorful icons?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shadowhawk2020 Avatar
120 months ago

How the **** can you have a patent on data syncronization? What am I missing here?


A law degree, and a long time studying patent law?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
something3153 Avatar
120 months ago

I haven't look far into this one yet but 'data synchronization'!? Really? A lot of these old patents handed out left and right by people who didn't really understand the technology. There are far too many technology patents that are far to generalized and over encompassing.


I'd say the same about most, if not all, of the patents Apple is throwing around.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tigger11 Avatar
120 months ago
Not likely

My point was that the lawsuit concerns data synchronization, which surely sounds like a software mechanism. If you have 2.7 billion euros, and use that to hire the best minds for this you can possibly find, can you then come up with a different, alternative data synchronization mechanism for less than 2.7 billion.


Given the simple nature of the patent, the probable answer is not really. The Patent was originally describing pagers, and shared data (wirelessly) between two pagers owned by the same person, so that appointments, contacts, etc would be shared from one device to another via wireless connectivity. The patent should never have been given, but if its accepted as a valid patent, I'm not sure its even possible to do what iCloud is supposed to do and not violate it unless you make them wired connection only. Every android phone and every blackberry for instance is "using" the patent as described as likely does the Windows phones. Any phone that pulls/shares its content with an email account on another computer is likely in violation of the patent.
-Tig
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
iP12 charge airpods feature 2

Hidden iPhone 12 Hardware Feature Could Still be Unlocked

Thursday January 14, 2021 2:51 am PST by
All iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models purportedly have a hidden reverse wireless charging feature, according to an FCC filing. The feature has not yet been activated, but could yet be unlocked for an upcoming Apple accessory. The FCC filing suggests that iPhone 12 models contain the hardware for Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) to accessories: In addition to being able to be charged by a...
Top Stories 43 Feature

Top Stories: MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and iPhone Rumors, Best of CES 2021

Saturday January 16, 2021 6:00 am PST by
This week was sure a busy one in the Apple world, with a flurry of announcements out of CES early in the week followed by a rash of Mac- and iPhone-related rumors later in the week. The new rumors this week included details on updated MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro models, as well as a few other tidbits, so make sure to read on below to get caught up! Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to...
iphone 5s black slate

Images of Unreleased iPhone 5s in Black and Slate Shared Online

Sunday January 17, 2021 9:47 am PST by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today shared images of a prototype iPhone 5s in an unreleased Black and Slate color. The iPhone 5s was launched in September 2013. The device featured Touch ID, a 64-bit processor, and a True Tone LED flash for the first time. Other new features included a five-element lens with an f/2.2 aperture, a 15 percent larger camera sensor, Burst Mode, and Slo-Mo...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
pat gelsinger intel

Incoming Intel CEO Derides Company's Inability to 'Deliver Better Products' Than Apple's M1 Chip

Friday January 15, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that the company must "deliver better products" than Apple, which he described as a "lifestyle company," and says that Intel's best days are "in front of it" (via The Oregonian). Speaking at an Intel all-hands meeting yesterday, Gelsinger derisively implied that Apple is merely a "lifestyle company," so Intel must be able to surpass its technology: ...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...