February 4, 2012
Motorola Wins Two Patent Verdicts Over Apple
Some iPad and iPhone models were temporarily unable for sale in Germany on Thursday, as Apple was handed a pair of setbacks in its legal battle against rival Motorola in that country.
According to CNET reporter Roger Chang and the Associated Press (AP), older model iPhones were removed from Apple's online store in Germany after Motorola opted to enforce a ruling previously won in a Mannheim courtroom.
That verdict, handed down last December, had ruled that Apple could not use mobile technology found to belong to Motorola in their devices without obtaining a license, according to BBC news.
The iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, as well as all 3G iPad models, were affected by the ban, which was lifted by a Kahrlsrule appeals court after Apple proposed a new license payment offer.
"All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple's online store in Germany shortly," the company said in a statement, according to the AP. "Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago."
"We are pleased that the Mannheim court has recognized the importance of our intellectual property and granted an enforceable injunction in Germany against Apple Sales International," Motorola countered in a statement of their own, the BBC reported. "Although the enforcement of the injunction has been temporarily suspended, Motorola Mobility will continue to pursue its claims against Apple."
The Motorola patent which led to the ban is for a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system," the British news agency said. The patent is licensed to other companies under what is known as Frand (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.
"Frand-type patents involve technologies that are deemed to be part of an industry standard. In this case Motorola's innovation is deemed crucial to the GPRS data transmission standard used by GSM cellular networks across the world," the BBC News report said.
"Companies must offer Frand-type patents for a reasonable fee to anyone willing to pay," they added. "Apple had previously said it would be willing to pay the fee going forward, but the two firms dispute how much Apple should pay for failing to license the technology up until now. Missed payments are not covered by the 'reasonable' rule, and Motorola is able to demand a more expensive price."
In related news, Motorola was also granted a request to permanently ban push e-mail services on Apple devices, Chang said. Such services were a "key feature" of the company's iCloud service, he said.
Karin Matussek of Bloomberg said on Friday that Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that the service "infringed a patent used to synchronize e-mail accounts." Voss ruled that Apple is liable for damages in the case, and that they must allow Motorola access to information about prior phone and tablet sales numbers.
“The court has come to the conclusion that the wording of the patent does cover functions that were at issue here,” Voss said, according to Matussek. She noted that Apple "wasn´t able to convince the court that it isn´t infringing."
The iPhone and iPad manufacturer has said that they will appeal the verdict.
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