German ruling spells trouble for Motorola's 3G patent lawsuits

By Lee Kaelin on February 28, 2012, 5:30 PM

Motorola Mobility has been dealt a blow in Germany after a court ruled in favor of Apple in the ongoing standard-essential patent battle between the two firms, in which Motorola is suing Apple after refusing the Cupertino-based company’s FRAND licensing offer. The patents in question cover 3G/UMTS wireless telephony standards used by Apple in their tablet and smartphone range.

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court ruled that Motorola would no longer be able to enforce its patent injunction against Apple in Germany during the ongoing appeal process. Furthermore, Apple has submitted a proposal to license the technology on a FRAND basis, and the court has determined that Motorola’s refusal to withdraw cease and desist notions and refusal of acceptable terms would almost certainly be in violation of antitrust regulations.

Florian Mueller, a patent and intellectual property analyst who has been covering the unraveling battle between the two tech giants gave a frank assessment of the court’s decision on his blog, Foss Patents. "This is so huge that it even begs the question of whether Google's strategy for its $12.5 billion purchase has failed before the deal is even formally closed (they're still waiting for some regulatory approvals)."

Mueller even goes as far as to say Google should pay the $2.5 billion breakup fee and walk away from the deal. There is no doubt that Google was hoping Motorola Mobility would win this case and gain some sort of legal advantage offered by Motorola's extensive patent portfolio covering mobile technologies as its Android mobile OS faces ever closer scrutiny from competitors.

"So far, no one has been able to deal a lasting knockout blow, but I believe Apple is likely to achieve some product differentiation in its favor through continued enforcement, and Microsoft will ultimately receive royalties on 100% of all Android devices sold in the United States and some other key markets," Mueller said when speaking to PC Advisor.

Last week's judgment against Apple in respect of push email notification services on Apple handsets and tablets remains unaffected by the court's recent decision, as the infringing patents in that case are not standard essential. Essentially this means Motorola is not obliged to license it fairly, and as a result the services have been suspended in Germany for customers using the affected devices.

User Comments: 5

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Raswan Raswan said:

Germany is more retarded than France when it comes to this nonsense.

Also, Apple can suck it hard. That is all.

Guest said:

Germans are more retarded? No they are smart as hell. Motorola is squatting the market. A technology should be used not abused. Motorola has antitrust issues and their anti competitive methods failed. This is what all the courts in the world should do if we are to move forward. Good technology should be used everywhere in everything and we should work harder to keep retarded and bad technology away. But it seems the opposite on our retarded planet where good technology is patented and is kept from being used by greed. This system is failing us in a huge way. What German consumers should start doing is refuse to buy anything that motorola makes for motorola is blocking the German consumer from buying one of the greatest inventions the iphone and ipads alike. These patent wars are just getting on everyones nerves.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Good to see someone coming up with logical decision at last, Google needed to be reminded again and again that it can't steal others IP and stuff it in their OS then claim otherwise. I think if this decision holds throughout the legal process, Google can kiss goodbye to any idea of pressurizing others to let it keep the stolen tech in its OS; a fair outcome IMO. Also FRAND offer from Apple, and also from MS in the other case are steps in the right direction, so this decision should also make Google think in a more 'pragmatic' way.

Hint: Florian Mueller is onto something here Google, so when you are done with all these legal cases, think about getting out of this deal.

Guest said:

Guest#1, the fact that you said "one of the greatest inventions the iphone and ipads alike" makes your argument invalid on so many levels. Good day.

Guest said:

Apple's "reality distortion field" is in fact a "reality delusion field" and any BIG LIAR like Steve Jobs was can do that.

Apple fans are delusional individuals and Apple products are a joke to the IT space.

Apple's marketing techniques are nothing but a scam using it's employes to spam the web with utterly bullshit pro Apple comments.

Apple the home of all Assholes.

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