Motorola loses patent suit in Germany, Moto G and X faces ban and recalls

Motorola is now facing a serious problem in Germany as a local court found the company guilty of infringing on a patent held by German engineering firm LPKF and asked for the removal of the Moto G and X from shelves. 

Simply put, the patent is about the placement of an antenna on a curved plastic design. Although there are other cell phones with similar designs, the court ruled some Motorola phones, including the Moto G and Moto X, are infringing on this patent. The patent in question was filed by LPKF in China in 2013.

Apart from ceasing the sale of their phones and recalling them from their business users, Motorola will have to pay compensation for losing the lawsuit. The amount they will have to pay has not yet been announced. 

Motorola is expected to "fix" this problem by either changing the antenna technology they use, or by paying LPKF compensation. Motorola will inevitably find a solution, but this will surely hurt their sales in Germany in the process. A spokesman from Motorola told the BBC: "We are disappointed in the decision but Motorola has taken steps to avoid any interruption in supply."

Google sold Motorola Mobility to Lenovo back in January this year for $2.91 billion, although that deal has yet to be completed.

Source: BBC | Image via iFixit

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22 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

You know, if I were a judge, I'd have an old s&w 6 shooter on the bench, with a sign under it that says: "If you are here to sue someone, over things that a reasonable person would find STUPID, expect 2-3 shots from this gun, directed at you. There will be no warning".
Some of these lawsuits border on the totally insane. Placement of an antenna on a piece of curved plastic? That patent, shouldn't have been issued in the first place.

naap51stang said,
You know, if I were a judge, I'd have an old s&w 6 shooter on the bench, with a sign under it that says: "If you are here to sue someone, over things that a reasonable person would find STUPID, expect 2-3 shots from this gun, directed at you. There will be no warning".
Some of these lawsuits border on the totally insane. Placement of an antenna on a piece of curved plastic? That patent, shouldn't have been issued in the first place.

Because that's not the patent, the patent is how they technically make the antenna on the curved plastic. Not antenna on curved plastic.

It would be sensible if people who comment on patents or judgments would read the text of them first, rather than rush to denounce the supposed stupidity of the grant/decision based on an oversimplified paraphrase ...

LPKF's patent is at http://www.freepatentsonline.com/EP1274288.pdf

Claim 1 is NOT merely to "the placement of an antenna on a curved plastic design".
It is to :
"1. Conductor track structures on a non-conductive carrier material, which comprise metal seeds and a metallisation subsequently applied thereto, the metal seeds having been produced by breaking open finely distributed non-conductive metal compounds contained in the carrier material, characterised in that the non-conductive metal compounds are formed by thermally highly stable inorganic metal compounds which are unchanging and insoluble in aqueous acidic or alkaline metallisation baths, the compounds being left unchanged on the carrier material in the regions in the surroundings of the conductor track structures."

The text of the patent explains why this is considered patentable. Enjoy!

Figures. Of course there is more to it than a mere curve in an antenna.

Clearly, Neowin was out to placate their Android user base with this one-sided article.

That being said, if my phone were to die today for whatever reason, I'd probably pick up a Moto G.

You don't have a single clue about the text you just pasted. This is common, basic stuff, even though it may sound like rocket science to you. Countless companies have been using these methods for many years. As always, patent systems are corrupted. ###### this ######.

audioman said,
This is common, basic stuff, even though it may sound like rocket science to you. Countless companies have been using these methods for many years.

Well go cite the prior art and invalidate the patent then.
The patent system is there to strike a balance between the right to practice prior art, and the right for inventors to be compensated. Use it if you think you have a case.
My post was merely intended to point out that there is more to the patent than the article suggests.
Mindless uninformed invective helps nobody.

Simply put, the patent is about the placement of an antenna on a curved plastic design.

The fact that stuff like this is patentable is really quite amazing.

Majesticmerc said,

The fact that stuff like this is patentable is really quite amazing.

Without knowing more specifics and assuming that making an antenna on a curved piece of plastic is trivial: I tend to agree with you.

That being said, it may not be a trivial thing at all and may be something that takes lot of R&D to pull off correctly (and actually still have decent signal strength). Its hard to objectively define what should be patentable and what shouldn't be patentable.

It is clear that patents need to be far more specific to a particular design and really only offer strong protection against reverse-engineering. Another company that comes to a similar design but started from scratch shouldn't have to worry so much about infringing on anyone's patent (IMHO).

Majesticmerc said,

The fact that stuff like this is patentable is really quite amazing.

I suspect the patent is slightly more indepted than that little title of the patent though.

adrynalyne said,

I am suing you for having the same thought I did. I had it first.

I am going to sue you for having the same thought I did. You had it first but I am patenting it right now!