German Court Bars Motorola From Enforcing Standard-Essential Patent Injunction Against Apple

BY Jason

Published 27 Feb 2012

Apple versus Motorla

FOSS Patents has just reported that Apple has won a major victory against Motorola in Germany regarding the standard-essential wireless patents that had forced it to briefly remove all 3G iOS devices from the online store.

Apple had managed to get the injunction temporarily suspended by making a revised offer to Motorola for its standard-essential wireless patents.

FOSS Patents reports:

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court (“Oberlandesgericht Karlsruhe”), the appeals court within whose circuit the Mannheim Regional Court is based, decided today that Motorola Mobility is barred from further enforcement of its standard-essential patent injunction against Apple in Germany at least for the duration of the ongoing appeal (which I believe will take a year, if not more). And while today’s decision is only a summary and preliminary decision that MMI could overturn during the course of the full-blown appellate proceedings, this indicates that Apple’s appeal is highly likely to succeed — and even if it didn’t, Apple could realistically resolve the problem with limited additional concessions.

The court also ruled that the revised offer made by Apple for Motorola’s standard-essential wireless patents should be acceptable to it. This should come as a relief for Apple as Motorola has been demanding 2.25% of the iPhone sales till date for its patents, which worked out to more than $2 billion. Apple has also filed a complaint with European Commission for violating FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms around its standard-essential wireless patents.

It has also warned Motorola that any attempt to ban Apple’s iPhone, iPad or iPod touch would turn into an antitrust violation.

FOSS Patents believes that this would be a major setback to Google, who had bought Motorola mainly for its patent portfolio.

Its importance can hardly be overstated. This is so huge that it even begs the question of whether Google’s strategy for its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility has failed before the deal is even formally closed (they’re still waiting for some regulatory approvals).

According to FOSS Patents, Motorola may not have any choice left but to accept Apple’s offer as the court believes that “from an antitrust point of view is now apparently too good to refuse”. If Motorola refuses to accept it, then it would be treated as antitrust violation, which could result in being fined by the European Commission.

You can read more details about the ruling over at FOSS Patents.