Apple has been having a lot of legal headaches lately and now there's a new one. Now, it's Motorola that's causing the Cupertino-based company trouble as it won a preliminary injunction against several Apple products in Germany. It's not the first time either.
Anyway, today's injunction affects practically all Apple gadgets with GPRS connectivity - the iPhone, iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, iPad 3G and iPad 3GS have been named, but the 4S is infringing on Motorola's patent as well (it came out after the suit was filed so it's not mentioned explicitly).
Motorola hasn’t won the case yet, but if they choose they can enforce that injunction in Germany. To do that, they need to provide a €100 million bond. That's a risk for the company that only recently stopped its decline - if they end up losing the suit, the money will have to be paid out to Apple. Also, Apple might appeal this decision and win a stay of the injunction.
It's hard to say how things will go. Motorola's patent is probably vital for GPRS and Apple can't do without it. Motorola might be forced to offer a license to Apple, but for now Moto's lawyers have managed to avoid that, at least until Apple pays for past damages (starting from 2007).
Apple doesn’t want to pay for past damages - that can turn out to be rather pricy - and is seeking to invalidate Motorola's patent and solve its problem (in this particular case) outright.
A second hearing is scheduled for February, we'll see how things progress then. By the way, Apple is sued for that exact same patent in the US, too, but things seem to be going better for the iPhone maker there (that case hasn’t been resolved yet, either).
The world of patents is very complicated and often confusing. You can read FOSS Patent's blog post on the courts ruling if you have a head for such legal matters.
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