Motorola would be running around saying HELLO MOTO to each other today in excitement, as a German court ruled against Apple in an ongoing battle over patents. Motorola's complaing was that Apple failed to license on of their wireless intellectual properties. Apple use this technology in their 3G-packing iPads and iPhones.
Motorola could now force Apple to remove the feature from their products, or even have the ability to slap a sales ban in Germany. Apple have said that they intend to appeal the ruling, while Motorola claim the ruling validated its "efforts to enforce its patents against Apple's infringement."
Apple have replied, by saying:
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.
What the patent does exactly, is "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system". Motorola license this patent to other companies on 'FRAND' (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms. The owner of a Frand-type patent is obligated to license out its technology to third-parties because the invention has been declared to be essential to an industry standard.
Apple had offered to pay a Frand-set fee going forward and was willing to pay a similar rate for past infringements, but it lost the cae because it tried to retain the right to contest the validity of the patent with a view to past damages. Apple have been so precise in suing Samsung, one would think they'd want to be by the book with this case.
Apple tried this as Motorola had defended its right to charge an above-Frand rate for Apple's use of its technology over the past four years. This could have been much higher than the rate Apple were willing to pay. Motorola will now have to post a 100m euro (£85m; $133m) bond if they wish to enforce a sales injunction against Apple. The cash would cover compensation to Apple if the ruling was later overturned.
Motorola, as one would expect, have welcomed the ruling. Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility has 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 US 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.
One thing to remember, is the acquisition of Motorola by Google... which will see 2012 having the fight take place between Apple and Google.