Last Friday, a German court found Apple in violation of a Motorola Mobility patent, ruling that Apple's iPhone and 3G model iPads infringe on cellular communications patents owned by Motorola Mobility that relate to General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) data packet transfer technology. Although the court in Manheim, Germany granted Motorola's requests for damages and an injunction banning the importation of iPhones and 3G iPads into Germany, because the ruling relates to the importation of new device shipments, Apple has said it already has sufficient existing inventory to ensure German shoppers will be able to purchase said devices in the all-important lead up to Christmas.
In a statement after last week's ruling, Motorola Mobility said, "we will continue to take all necessary steps to protect our intellectual property, as the Company's patent portfolio and licensing agreements with companies both in the U.S. and around the world are critical to our business. We have been negotiating with Apple and offering them reasonable licensing terms and conditions since 2007, and will continue our efforts to resolve our global patent dispute as soon as practicable."
According to Florian Mueller, a patent expert who has been following the lawsuit, Apple can request a stay of the injunction but even if the court declines the appeal, Motorola needs to post a 100 million euro (approx. US$133.8 million) bond before the court will enforce the injunction. An Apple spokesman told All Things Digital that the company would indeed fight the decision, saying, "we're going to appeal the court's ruling right away."
The lawsuit is one of many phone- and tablet-related legal battles being fought around the world between various technology companies looking to protect their patents and claim licensing fees from competitors. Although Motorola continues to be run as a separate business, in August of this year Google announced that it had agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility for US$12.5 billion, with the company's portfolio of 17,000 patents seen as the biggest carrot for the search giant.