Following a recent ruling against the company in Germany's Mannheim Regional Court, Apple has been forced to turn off its iCloud and MobileMe push email services for users in the European country to comply with an injunction won by Motorola Mobility over an old patent related to two-way communications between pagers.
The company posted the news in its German support website and offered some suggestions for temporary solutions that users can follow while the company appeals the decision.
“Affected customers will still receive iCloud and MobileMe email, but new messages will be downloaded to their devices when the Mail app is opened, or when their device periodically fetches new messages as configured in iOS Settings. Push email service on desktop computers, laptop computers, and the web is unaffected, as is service from other providers such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync,” said Apple in a statement posted to its official support page.
Push support for contacts and calendar sync will continue to operate as before for iCloud users. For those still using Mobile Me, however, the block on push updates will also affect contacts and calendars, and once they have checked their MobileMe mail from inside Germany, then push updates will be disabled even outside German borders. Apple is advising users to convert their MobileMe accounts into iCloud accounts.
Apple says it believes the patent in question is invalid, but it seems Motorola is confident enough to post the required 100 million euro bond to enforce the injunction. If Apple's expected appeal finds that the original ruling was incorrect, Motorola may be forced to pay significantly more in damages.
The companies have been locked in several legal battles over a number patents for a while now. Earlier this month Motorola also won a sales injunction in Germany affecting most iPhone and iPad devices for infringing on 3G/UMTS patents, but Apple was able to win a suspension just a few hours later. Meanwhile, Apple won another court battle against Motorola in the country over its slide-to-unlock patent.