Motorola wins patent lawsuit against Apple in German court

9 Dec 2011

The iPhone 4

A German court has ruled that Apple has infringed Motorola’s wireless patent, which could let Motorola ban the sale of the iPhone and iPad in Germany though it could cost it €100m to try and do so.

FOSS Patents reports that the Mannheim Regional Court gave its ruling on a case Motorola brought against Apple in Germany last April. Motorola claimed Apple had infringed its patent for “a method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system.”

Today marks the first substantive ruling in this case, which is enforceable against Apple Sales International, based in Cork. This followed a default judgment against Apple made last month, which will be discussed again in February.

Apple argued that the patent was essential to the GPRS standard. The court agreed with this, but ruled in favour of Motorola, noting that Apple did not make a binding offer to licence this patent.

The injunction covers all iPad and iPhone devices which predate the iPhone 4S, though the iPhone 4S could be covered under this. Apple could also appeal this ruling to the Karlsruhe Regional Court and get a stay on the injunction to try and prevent it from affecting its products. If the stay is not granted, the injunction could be enforced, though not before Motorola posts a €100m bond which would be used to pay Apple if the injunction was overturned on a later appeal.

If the appeal fails, Apple may be able to avoid the injunction by modifying these products by removing the infringing feature, though it remains to be seen if this is viable. Apple could get a licence for the patent to overcome the injunction.