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iPhone And iPad Sales Halted In Germany As Motorola Wins Ban

Apple vs MotorolaBarely a day goes by at the moment without a story on Apple’s legal wranglings with everyone else in the mobile technology space at the moment. Today it is Motorola Mobility that has found success in Mannheim Regional Court in Germany – with the court ruling that Apple’s iPhones and iPads violate a key wireless patent owned the soon to be Google consumer hardware arm.

The patent in question (EP 1010336 (B1)) is one that is central to the GPRS standard that is used in most modern mobile devices and is described as a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system” – and is the same patent that Motorola and Apple are contesting currently in the US. With the patent being so central to the standard, it is available under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms – meaning that any manufacturer can license it under similar terms as available to others.

Apple, however, has never licensed this patent – and therefore has been in violation since the release of the original iPhone in 2007. Now the court has found in Motorola’s favour Apple wants to be able to just pay for the past violations at the same rates as if they had licensed the patent in the past, as well as withholding the right to contest the patent’s validity in the future. Unsurprisingly Motorola is less than enamoured with this proposal as that is not how licensing is done, and the threat of contesting the patent going forward hardly helps with the relations between the companies. Motorola wants Apple to pay much higher licensing fees for their past unlicensed indiscretions (similar to damages), but have to accept the FRAND terms from this point onwards – and by owning the patent, they have the better bargaining position at this point – and as such have been able to obtain a ban on iPad and iPhone sales from the German regional court.

Apple has said it will immediately appeal the ruling to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court and its products will remain on sale in Germany. To enforce the ban, Apple asked that Motorola was to provide the court with a €2 billion bond in case the ruling was overturned later, but the court decided that €100 million was more appropriate. Apple is involved in legal battles across the globe at the moment from Germany, to the US, to Australia – but banning their products from sale could cause the company major issues if other courts give similar rulings.

[via FOSS Patents]

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