Apple Requesting Potential Motorola Bond of Up to $16 Billion in German Patent Case
Several weeks ago, it was reported that Apple was requesting that Motorola be required to put up a $2.7 billion bond should it prove victorious in a German patent case and decide to enforce that ruling against Apple. Such a bond is common practice in the German court system and would be used to compensate Apple for the time its products were out of the market should Apple win on an appeal of the ruling.
Importantly, no such initial ruling has yet been made against Apple, but FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller stated that last month's proceedings had hinted that the judge in the case was skeptical of Apple's defenses against Motorola's claims of infringement of a data synchronization patent by iCloud.
FOSS Patents now follows up with a report from a new hearing on the case in which it was revealed that the $2.7 billion bond requested by Apple was actually an annual sum. With a Motorola lawyer suggesting that the trial and subsequent appeals could drag on until 2018, Apple's bond request could amount to a total of $16.2 billion over a potential six-year period beginning in 2012.
At the hearing two weeks ago, the amount appeared to be an all-time total. Today it was clarified that this is an annual figure. But the period of time for which Motorola Mobility might have to post a bond would span far more than one year.
One of Motorola's lawyers mentioned the year 2018 today. Considering that the relevant cases are up for decision in February 2012, we're then talking (hypothetically) about six years, or six times $2.7 billion, or $16.2 billion.
Mueller points out that the potential bond amount would exceed the $12.5 billion price Google has proposed for purchasing all of Motorola Mobility. He goes on to note that it is unclear whether the judge in the case will accept Apple's claim of a $2.7 billion per-year risk should an injunction be enforced, but that Apple's structure of funneling much of its European operations through the Irish subsidiary targeting in the case could indeed lead to substantial risk for the company.
Motorola would of course also have to enforce a decision against Apple for the bond to be required. The company would not be required to do so, and while continued litigation of the matter might suggest that Motorola would seek to enforce a decision, patent lawsuits are frequently conducted in order to put pressure on competitors to reach some sort of settlement prior to a final judgment being rendered.