Motorola granted injunction against Apple [Update]

Motorola Mobility has reportedly confirmed that they have secured an injunction against the sale of Apple devices in Germany, according to ZDNet. According to “a copy of what purports to be a default judgment by the Mannheim Regional Court,” they say that this will prevent Apple from selling any devices that infringe on two Motorola patents in Germany.

The two patents in question are:

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

Motorola released the following statement just a few minutes ago:

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.

This is a major shakeup in Apple's legal battles against manufacturers of products using Google's Android operating system. They were recently granted a pair of injunctions that banned the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany, and led to the removal of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 from the floor of the IFA exhibition. With the issuing of this injunction, it opens the door to the possibility that Apple could end up in a similar situation to Samsung.

Assuming that the ruling does hold up, this would mean that Apple would owe Motorola Mobility for financial damages for patent infringement dating all the way back to April 19th, 2003. Considering Apple's meteoric rise since then, it's definitely not pocket change.

Update: Apple sent the following statement to Engadget:

"This is a procedural issue, and has nothing to do with the merits of the case. It does not affect our ability to sell products or do business in Germany at this time.

Update: It would appear that Apple might have purposely defaulted on the injunction so that they will be able to present all of their evidence at the appeal (something they will almost certainly seek). This tactic is sometimes employed in German courts by defendants who have failed to respond to a complaint in time, since evidence that is then presented is not admissible due to being 'untimely.' Apple's legal advisors Think Different, too. The original injunction, in all of its German legalese glory, can be viewed at FOSS Patents.

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