Florian Mueller isn’t a patent attorney but he plays one on his blog FOSSPatents. For better or worse, he’s often quoted in the ongoing mobile technology patent battles where the winner is often Apple. He’s also German so he probably understands this new ruling a lot better than us (Our German is “rostig”)
Apple knows what it’s like to win injunctions against rivals. It won four of them against Samsung (two in Germany, one in the Netherlands and most recently one in Australia; all of them preliminary). Now it seems that Apple has just come out on the losing end of a patent infringement lawsuit. I have received a copy of what purports to be a default judgment by the Mannheim Regional Court barring Apple from selling in Germany — the single largest market in Europe — any mobile devices infringing on two Motorola Mobility patents and determining that Apple owes Motorola Mobility damages for past infringement since April 19, 2003.
If true, this would be a Hindenburg-sized backfire for Apple’s legal efforts in Europe.
Update: It looks like Motorola is confirming the injunction with this press statement:
“As media and mobility continue to converge, Motorola Mobility’s patented technologies are increasingly important for innovation within the wireless and communications industries, for which Motorola Mobility has developed an industry leading intellectual property portfolio. We will continue to assert ourselves in the protection of these assets, while also ensuring that our technologies are widely available to end-users. We hope that we are able to resolve this matter, so we can focus on creating great innovations that benefit the industry.”
The two patents and their US equivalents, below:
- EP (European Patent) 1010336 (B1) on a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system”; this is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898
- EP (European Patent) 0847654 (B1) on a “multiple pager status synchronization system and method”; this is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent No. 5,754,119