Apple Patent | "Apple suffers major patent setback in Germany"

By: Reuters
Category: Apple Patent

Apple Patent
Motorola Mobility won a preliminary injunction against Apple in Germany, which could bar the sales of iPhones and iPads in the country.

A regional German court in Mannheim ruled on Friday that Apple Sales International - European sales subsidiary of Apple in Cork, Ireland - must stop selling or distributing mobile devices that infringe certain Motorola patents.

The ruling, which relates to cellular communications patents, could bar the sales of all Apple products that use the patents such as iPhone 4 and iPad 3G, Germany-based patent expert Florian Mueller said.

"The ruling targets Apple's European sales organisation but relates only to that entity's sale to German customers," added Mr Mueller, who works as a consultant and is currently doing a study for Microsoft.

Motorola Mobility said it has been negotiating with Apple and offering the company "reasonable licensing terms and conditions since 2007".

Motorola Mobility "will continue our efforts to resolve our global patent dispute as soon as practicable," it said in a statement.

To enforce the injunction, Motorola Mobility, which is in the throes of being taken over by Google, has to pay about 100 million euros ($US133.8 million) as bond.

Apple, which has other patent infringement cases pending in Germany, said it plans to appeal.

"We are going to appeal the court ruling right away," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "Holiday shoppers in Germany should have no problem finding the iPad and iPhone they want."

Apple is locked in mobile patent infringement battle with a number of companies, including Samsung Electronics and HTC, in many countries. It recently failed in a court bid to stop US and Australian sales of Samsung's Galaxy line of products.

In its case against Motorola Mobility, Apple offered to license the patent.

"But Motorola rejected the offer as Apple sought to limit the amount it would have to pay for past infringement," Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies & Co said, adding that the key issue is the penalty size for Apple's infringement for the past four years, which may run into hundreds of millions of dollars.