Motorola Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Apple, Could Ban iPhone/iPad Sales
A German court has ruled in favor of Motorola, granting a preliminary injunction against Apple mobile devices, according to FOSS Patents.
The ruling is enforceable against Ireland-based Apple Sales International in exchange for a 100 million ($134 million) bond from Motorola, unless Apple wins a stay.
The patent in question is EP (European Patent) 1010336 (B1) which details a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system". It was declared essential to the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) standard.
Apple will likely appeal this ruling to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court and request a stay for the duration of the appeal. If the stay isn't granted Motorola will have to decide whether to bear the risk of enforcing an injunction that could get overturned. Apple asked for a 2 billion bond but the court only granted 100 million.
According to FOSS Patents, Motorola was able to overcome Apple's FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) defense.
The logic presented by Motorola's counsel convinced the court: someone using a patented invention should have to pay a price for being found to have infringed. While competition law requires the patent holder to extend a license on FRAND terms going forward, past infringement is a different matter. If, in the alternative, damages for past infringement were limited to a FRAND royalty rate, Motorola and Judge Voß argue, an infringer might ultimately get to use the patent on more favorable terms than someone procuring a license at the outset. They say that favorable terms would result from a scenario in which payments for using the patent in the past can be avoided by proving the patent invalid.
Apple has an action to invalidate the patent going at the Federal Patent Court in Munich and if it succeeds, Apple doesn't want to pay past infringement royalties.