updated 05:35 am EST, Fri February 24, 2012
Apple forced to drop push e-mail service
Apple has failed in its legal bid to stop Motorola from forcing an injunction against its implementation of push email in Germany. Consequently, Apple has pulled the function from its iCloud and MobileMe services. The Cupertino-based company has posted a support statement on the matter, which now leaves German iOS users having to force e-mail updates by opening their mail application or setting their e-mail client to check periodically for new e-mail.
Motorola recently won two significant rulings at the Mannheim Regional Court. Although Apple says it ‘believes Motorola's patent is invalid and is appealing the decision,’ it has also previously stated that it has tried to offer Motorola what it believes was a fair and reasonable licensing fee for the technology. Although the technology in question here is not considered essential to a standard, Apple argues that Motorola has been abusing its FRAND obligations and in separate action has asked the EU to investigate Motorola for FRAND patent abuse.
In forcing its injunction against Apple’s implementation of push e-mail, Motorola has footed a 100 million euro bond, which the court will award to Apple if it subsequently wins its appeal against the injunction. However, according to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, although Apple’s claim that Motorola’s push e-mail patent used to enforce the ban is invalid, it may have a difficult time convincing the German court otherwise. They generally enforce patent claims when they find that there has been an infringement of a patent, and rarely question whether a patent the non-obviousness of a granted patent.
Although this marks the first time that Apple has been forced to hobble one of its iOS functions in the ongoing patent war between it and various Android OEM’s around the globe, many users may not be greatly inconvenienced by the loss of the service. Business users who rely on corporate Exchange servers will continue to receive push e-mail, while many users already choose to disable the function voluntarily in order to conserve battery life.