A German court on Friday ruled that Apple's iPhone and iPad devices infringe a Motorola patent and issued an injunction against sales of the products in Germany, in the latest move in a long series of legal battles between the companies.
However, Apple can appeal the ruling, requesting a stay of the injunction in the meantime, according to Florian Mueller, who has been closely following patent lawsuits in the mobile industry. Mueller is a patent expert who sometimes does consulting work for companies including Microsoft.
Following publication of this story, Apple Europe's Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Alan Hely contacted us to say: "We're going to appeal the court's ruling right away. Holiday shoppers in Germany should have no problem finding the iPad or iPhone they want."
Should Apple make the appeal but the court decline the stay, Motorola must post a €100 million (US$134 million) bond before the court will enforce the injunction, Mueller said. He posted the ruling, issued in German, on his blog.
The Mannheim Regional Court also ruled that Motorola is entitled to a damages award. The ruling is against Apple's European sales company and only impacts products sold in Germany.
This battle -- one of several ongoing between the companies around the world -- is over a Motorola patent that is essential to GPRS, a radio communication standard, Motorola said. It has been negotiating with Apple since 2007 over a license to the technology, it said. "We will continue our efforts to resolve our patent dispute as soon as practicable," Motorola said in a statement.
The injunction follows a preliminary injunction issued against Apple Inc., the U.S. parent company, by the same court last month related to the GPRS patent and another. That judgment is scheduled to be reviewed by the German court in February, Mueller said.
Other legal battles between the companies include a suit Apple filed in Germany over Motorola's Xoom, complaints both companies have brought against each other in the U.S. International Trade Commission and suits each has filed in U.S. courts over phone technologies.