updated 06:20 am EST, Fri February 3, 2012
Motorola strikes a blow for Android against Apple
Motorola has scored two significant victories against Apple in Germany, the result of two separate legal actions it has initiated in a Mannheim court, according to FOSS Patents. The first of the two cases dates back to a decision handed down in December where Motorola won an injunction against Apple on its implementation of 3G/UMTS technology and has resulted in Apple pulling its iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 as well as all of its iPads from its online store in Germany. The second has resulted in an injunction against Apple's implementation of push e-mail in iCloud and MobileMe.
Due to the way Apple has structured its business operations in Germany, and the way that Motorola chose to approach the case, Apple is still able to sell the devices in question through Apple's retail stores and resellers. In an official statement offered by Apple in Germany, a company spokesman has said "Even if some iPad and iPhone models are currently not available in our online store in Germany, customers should have no problem finding these devices in our stores or from authorized resellers." The iPhone maker claimed that it has sought to pay Motorola license fees for the devices in question, but has not been offered reasonable terms.
Motorola is also now in a position where it can block Apple from using its push e-mail capability in Germany, with Judge Andreas Voss siding with Motorola on the matter. However the ruling has yet to be put in force, as Apple has the right to appeal the decision. Should Apple's appeal fail, it will be forced to disable its push e-mail functionality in both iCloud and MobileMe. It may yet still have to do so if Motorola posts a 100 million euro bond to have the decision enforced immediately, regardless of whether Apple appeals the decision. Apple may also have to remove the client software enabling push e-mail on its devices in Germany as a result.
Motorola is currently subject to a take over bid by Google in a $12.5 billion deal that is still awaiting clearance from a range of US and European regulatory agencies. Google has gone on record stating that it purchased Motorola primarily for its patent arsenal.
'Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google's patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,' CEO Larry Page said in statement at the time.
While recent the decisions handed down against Apple are not the courts' final rulings, it demonstrates that in the court's view, Apple has a case to answer and that it should not stand to profit from the sale of devices and services if it has not properly licensed aspects of the technology behind them.