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

FOSS 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

(View all)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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)
Avatar
114 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

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Google's $349 Pixel 4a vs. Apple's $399 iPhone SE

Wednesday August 5, 2020 1:45 pm PDT by
Google this week launched its newest smartphone, the $349 Pixel 4a, a low-cost device that's designed to compete with other affordable devices like Apple's iPhone SE. We picked up one of the new Pixel 4a smartphones and thought we'd check it out to see how it measures up to the iPhone SE, given that the two devices have such similar price points. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel ...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Samsung Launches Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Galaxy Buds to Compete With Apple's iPhones and AirPods Pro

Wednesday August 5, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Samsung today held a virtual Galaxy Unpacked event where it unveiled its next-generation smartphones that will compete with Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup, set to come out in the fall. Samsung announced the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the two newest devices in the Note lineup, and, more notably, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, Samsung's latest foldable smartphone. The...

Alleged 'iPhone 12' Images Depict Circular Array of Magnets in Chassis

Wednesday August 5, 2020 4:39 am PDT by
New images shared on Weibo appear to show a circular array of magnets housed inside an "iPhone 12" chassis. The unverified images depict 36 individual magnets in a circular arrangement, suggesting they could be related to mounting or charging. EverythingApplePro, who shared the Weibo-originating images on Twitter, also posted an image of an alleged iPhone 12 case with a similar array of...