updated 11:26 am EDT, Tue July 17, 2012
iPad design patent nevertheless withstands scrutiny
A German court has ruled that the Motorola Xoom tablet doesn't infringe on three Apple design concepts for the iPad, according to Dow Jones. Had the court ruled in Apple's favor, the Xoom could potentially have been banned across Europe. The court has also, however, rejected a counterclaim by Motorola alleging that the iPad's design patent is invalid. As a result, Apple has been ordered to pay two-thirds of the costs of legal proceedings, and Motorola a third.
The court has been expected to rule in Motorola's favor since March, when the judge in the case, Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann, said that the court considered the edges and the bent back of the Xoom sufficiently different from an iPad. Today's ruling is notably separate from a court case going on in Mannheim where Apple is suing Motorola for supposedly violating multi-touch patents. Samsung is also being targeted in the same court.
Apple has had better luck against Samsung, successfully getting two tablets by the latter banned in Germany last year, although Samsung ultimately worked around the issue by switching to different designs. Opponents have complained that while Apple argues that Samsung and Motorola tablets are close mimics of the iPad, there are still differences, and it can be difficult to make a minimalist tablet that doesn't have some similarities to Apple's product.