Motorola wins major injunction against Apple's iPhone, iPad in Germany

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Motorola Mobility on Friday won a major patent infringement decision against Apple in Germany, a ruling that includes an injunction against the iPhone and 3G-capable iPads.



Motorola's victory relates to European Patent 1010336 (B1), entitled "Method for Performing a Countdown Function During a Mobile-originated Transfer for a Packet Radio System." According to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, the patent was declared essential to the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) standard.



"The ruling generally relates to all Apple products that implement the patent-in-suit," Mueller wrote. "The ruling notes that, 'inter alia,' this includes the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. But the iPhone 4S, which was released after this litigation started (April 2011), undoubtedly implements the same telecommunications standard."



Friday's decision is the first substantive ruling in the court battle between Motorola and Apple. A month ago, Motorola won a default judgment in the same German patent case, but the ruling was declared largely procedural, and did not affect sales of Apple products.



But Friday's ruling will force Apple to make a move. One option for the company is to modify its products by removing the patented feature to avoid further infringement.







"It remains to be seen whether this is a commercially viable option for Apple," Mueller wrote. "This feature could be somewhat fundamental to wireless data transfers in general."



It's likely that Apple will appeal the decision to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court and request a stay for the remainder of the appellate proceedings, Mueller said. Or Apple could attempt to license the patent included in the suit.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 137
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,452member
    ". . .preliminarily enforceable against Ireland-based Apple Sales International in exchange for a ?100 million ($134 million) bond unless Apple wins a stay"



    $134 million is a far cry from the billions mentioned as a potential bond.
  • Reply 2 of 137
    It's still a sweet result. SWEET.
  • Reply 3 of 137
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    I don't like those injunctions, is better to pay damages if the trial is lost
  • Reply 4 of 137
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,333member
    So Apple should just have to license it with a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.
  • Reply 5 of 137
    t2aft2af Posts: 44member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jkichline View Post


    So Apple should just have to license it with a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.



    Well Motorola asked them to license the patent in 2007, so they may get awarded damages back till then, and not necessarily at the FRAND rate. Could be expensive for Apple - they should have just licensed it in 2007.
  • Reply 6 of 137
    Joking aside, the more of these details that come out, the more it seems that Apple didn't really play ball when it came to the patents for the iPhone. They just built it, released it and then worried about what they had infringed.



    It could end up being a very costly decision. This, the Nokia patents, anything Samsung can make stick...etc.



    To be fair, they were coming into the game as newbies, but there's still a right and wrong way of doing things.
  • Reply 7 of 137
    hankx32hankx32 Posts: 121member
    so does this mean you can no longer buy these Apple products in Germany as of today?
  • Reply 8 of 137
    kpomkpom Posts: 616member
    These sound like FRAND patents, since they are essential to the GPRS standard. I'm a bit surprised the court didn't just order monetary damages, but German courts seem to have one weapon only (product bans). Apple isn't being hit in pre-market trading, so I'm guessing that the two sides will just settle this.
  • Reply 9 of 137
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KPOM View Post


    These sound like FRAND patents, since they are essential to the GPRS standard. I'm a bit surprised the court didn't just order monetary damages, but German courts seem to have one weapon only (product bans). Apple isn't being hit in pre-market trading, so I'm guessing that the two sides will just settle this.



    HTC has a similar issue in Germany with IPCom patents that appear like they're FRAND. In that case the claimant wants past damages going back a couple of years and may well get it.
  • Reply 10 of 137
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    To those of you wondering about the FRAND issue, you really need to read the link to the FOSS blog. It does a pretty good job of covering that issue. What I am unclear on is whether Apple did or did not actually pay Motorola FRAND licenses. At one point is says that Motorola contacted Apple about paying in 2007. Then at another point it states that Apple made an offer to pay for them. Then at one point is mentions that Motorola's legal counsel argued that the FRAND doesn't apply because Apple retained the rights to try and prove the patent in question invalid, which makes it sound like they paid for the FRAND but are trying to invalidate the patent in question.



    So, I am really unclear as to whether Motorola did or did not actually receive any money for this patent.



    Whatever the case it is not as simple as it seems at first blush.



    The only issue that I really take issue with is the judges contention that Apple stands to only lose $134 million if the injunction is overturned. I don't know how fast German courts work, but I would guess that Apple makes this amount of money on the products in question in a single quarter.
  • Reply 11 of 137
    srangersranger Posts: 469member
    Pay back is a bitch....



    Apple definitely deserved this one....
  • Reply 12 of 137
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Scaramanga89 View Post


    Joking aside, the more of these details that come out, the more it seems that Apple didn't really play ball when it came to the patents for the iPhone. They just built it, released it and then worried about what they had infringed.



    It could end up being a very costly decision. This, the Nokia patents, anything Samsung can make stick...etc.



    To be fair, they were coming into the game as newbies, but there's still a right and wrong way of doing things.







    You can't license something if somebody doesn't let you. In Motorola and Nokia's case, they have to license the patents under FRAND terms. The problem occurs when the parties disagree as to what FRAND terms are.
  • Reply 13 of 137
    Peanuts. Apple pays a couple of bucks per device per FRAND standards (after trying out appeals) and moves on.



    Rounding error.
  • Reply 14 of 137
    shaminoshamino Posts: 412member
    This is why standards bodies should not accept patented technologies into standards. The GPRS committees should not have accepted Motorola's patented tech as part of the standard without getting a legally binding statement that they would not sue GPRS implementers.



    Failing that, the standards bodies must take steps to make sure that people implementing the standards can do so without fear of being sued by the companies contributing patented technology to the standard.



    For example, the DVD and Blu-Ray standards bodies (as I understand it) set up a clearinghouse for the various patents. If you pay for a DVD or Blu-Ray license, then you don't have to worry about the fact that the dozens of patented technologies held by the various member companies.



    If the GPRS people didn't do this, then they made a tragic mistake. If they did, and Apple didn't buy a license, then they made a tragic mistake. If GPRS and Apple both did the right thing, then Motorola should get pounded into the ground by the courts for trying to sue.
  • Reply 15 of 137
    kpomkpom Posts: 616member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sranger View Post


    Pay back is a bitch....



    Apple definitely deserved this one....



    How so? Motorola apparently refused to license the patents on FRAND terms because Apple wanted to reserve the right to contest the patent. It sounds like Motorola was the one overreaching.



    Anyway, Motorola's attorney in Germany is also the same one who got the Samsung injunction lifted. Perhaps Apple should think about switching law firms.



    It sounds like the only matter under actual dispute is the amount of royalties Apple will pay Motorola. Apple wants to pay FRAND rates while Motorola wants more.
  • Reply 16 of 137
    sipsip Posts: 210member
    Germans like their tech and can afford it -- I have no idea how many iPhones have been sold in Germany but they've always been keen on Apple products, and produced lots of software pre-OSX.



    They may well take out their frustrations on Googarola.
  • Reply 17 of 137
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,452member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Peanuts. Apple pays a couple of bucks per device per FRAND standards (after trying out appeals) and moves on.



    Rounding error.



    In the HTC/IPCom case I mentioned above (also a German injunction), IPCom thinks they should get 2.5-3.5% of the device revenue. If the same applies to Apple and is granted, that will be a lot more than a couple of dollars per device. Perhaps $15 per infringing device might be closer.
  • Reply 18 of 137
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KPOM View Post


    How so? Motorola apparently refused to license the patents on FRAND terms because Apple wanted to reserve the right to contest the patent. It sounds like Motorola was the one overreaching.



    Anyway, Motorola's attorney in Germany is also the same one who got the Samsung injunction lifted. Perhaps Apple should think about switching law firms.



    It sounds like the only matter under actual dispute is the amount of royalties Apple will pay Motorola. Apple wants to pay FRAND rates while Motorola wants more.



    Or Apple wants to pay less than FRAND terms like in the case of Nokia, we don't know, the only fact is that they haven't payed the licenses
  • Reply 19 of 137
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Scaramanga89 View Post


    Joking aside, the more of these details that come out, the more it seems that Apple didn't really play ball when it came to the patents for the iPhone. They just built it, released it and then worried about what they had infringed.



    It could end up being a very costly decision. This, the Nokia patents, anything Samsung can make stick...etc.



    To be fair, they were coming into the game as newbies, but there's still a right and wrong way of doing things.







    I believe any company intending to design such a complex product is faced with potential infringement of hundreds of patents. Some of thse can be clearly identified and resolved, but others would require years of negotiations, which obviously Apple could not afford. having said that, it is also true that in many cases (Apple trademark, etc ...) it is Apple's (or better Steve's) strategy to move along, and then negotiate. this is not necessarily counterproductive, since anyway you have to negotiate at some points, as these matters are often resolved after negotiation, apart from legal system/dispute. My guess is that, as it is done in any company, they have eavaluated the pros and cons of each strategy. Only future will tell whether they were right or not (but the public will not be able to tell,because in case of negotiations the terms are never made public).
  • Reply 20 of 137
    red oakred oak Posts: 658member
    So, Motorola refuses to license a FRAND patent.. and they get an injunction? Un.. fucking... believable



    Let's see what happens when Apple products are actually banned in Germany/Europe. The public uproar is going to be deafening



    I look forward to Motorola and their 20K employees to be integrated into Google. It will be fun to see that anchor take down the ship
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