Apple wins suspension of Motorola ban on iPad and iPhone sales

IT legislation

Apple wins suspension of Motorola ban on iPad and iPhone sales

Warwick Ashford

Apple has been granted a temporary suspension of a sales ban imposed on some iPhones and iPads in Germany.

Enforcing a December patent infringement ruling, Motorola on Friday 3 February forced Apple to remove several iPad and iPhone models from its online store.

Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 were affected, but not the iPhone 4S. All 3G models of the iPad were involved, but not their Wi-Fi-only counterparts.

An appeals court later lifted the ban after Apple made a new licence payment offer, but patent lawyers believe the suspension may last only a few days or weeks, according to the BBC.

Apple said in a statement that it had appealed against the ban "because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago".

However, Motorola indicated that it would try to restore the ban. "Although the enforcement of the injunction has been temporarily suspended, Motorola Mobility will continue to pursue its claims against Apple,” the company said in a statement.

Communications patent dispute

In a separate case, Motorola has won a ruling that Apple’s iCloud and MobileMe services infringe a patent relating to a two-way communications.

If Motorola enforces the ruling, some iPhone users in Germany will lose the ability to automatically receive e-mails as soon as they have been sent.

This patent is not considered to be critical to an industry standard, so Motorola does not have to license the technology to Apple, even if the iPhone-maker offers to pay.

Apple said that it believed the patent involved was invalid and that it would appeal against the ruling.

Although the two cases only apply to Germany, they may have implications for other European lawsuits, because courts must explain why they have reached a different conclusion to a court in another EU member state.

Apple is engaged in several other patent disputes, having challenged HTC, Samsung and others for infringing Apple patents.


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