updated 08:20 am EST, Fri December 9, 2011
Motorola gets German win blocking iPhone, 3G iPads
Motorola won a more definitive verdict against Apple than its default judgment on Friday after a Mannheim court ruled that Apple had violated one of the 3G-related patents. The determination would ban any of Apple's 3G devices, including some iPad models and all iPhones predating the iPhone 4S. Apple might have the opportunity to either license the patent to avoid the ban or else design around it, although the last option is unlikely.
In defending itself, Apple had tried to contend that Motorola had been violating FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) patent licensing rules by for any past-damage requests that went beyond fair rates. Those requirements only applied to current damages, not the past, Motorola said. The court agreed that insisting on FRAND for past damages would let companies violate patents knowing they could get as good or better a deal than if they had licensed properly in the first place.
Apple will very likely appeal the loss, but it's also trying to invalidate the 3G patent and others in a Munich Federal Patent court. A successful decision would negate Motorola's lawsuit victory and leave it without much of a defense against Apple's own claims.
Motorola has been one of the few to get genuine victories against Apple in court. Samsung has not only seen the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at least temporarily banned in Germany, but has even seen a variant banned for not significantly deviating from the look and feel of Apple's iPad. [via Florian Mueller]