Apple overturns Motorola's iPad and iPhone sales bans
Published: 3rd Feb 2012 16:10:08
Apple has been granted a temporary suspension of a sales ban imposed on some of its products in Germany.
Motorola Mobility had forced Apple to remove several iPad and iPhone models from its online store earlier today after enforcing a patent infringement court ruling delivered in December.
An appeals court lifted the ban after Apple made a new licence payment offer.
However, Germany-based users may still face the loss of their push email iCloud service after a separate ruling.
Patent consultant Florian Mueller, who attended the review, said that the suspension may only last a few days or weeks - but that Apple's revised proposal had been enough to allow it to restart sales.
"The Karlsruhe higher regional court believes that Apple's new offer needs to be evaluated before this injunction can enter into force again," he wrote on his blog.
"A suspension like this is available only against a bond, but Apple is almost drowning in cash and obviously won't have had a problem with obtaining and posting a bond."
He said that the bond amount was likely to have been about 120m euros ($158m, £100m).
A statement from Apple said: "All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple's online store in Germany shortly.
"Apple appealed this ruling 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 signalled that it would try to restore the ban.
"We are pleased that the Mannheim court has recognized the importance of our intellectual property and granted an enforceable injunction in Germany against Apple Sales International," a statement said.
"Although the enforcement of the injunction has been temporarily suspended, Motorola Mobility will continue to pursue its claims against Apple."
The sales ban relates to Motorola's patent for a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system".
Motorola licenses the patent to other companies on Frand (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.
Frand-type patents involve technologies that are deemed to be part of an industry standard. In this case Motorola's innovation is deemed crucial to the GPRS data transmission standard used by GSM cellular networks across the world.
Companies must offer Frand-type patents for a reasonable fee to anyone willing to pay.
Apple had previously said it would be willing to pay the fee going forward, but the two firms dispute how much Apple should pay for failing to license the technology up until now. Missed payments are not covered by the "reasonable" rule, and Motorola is able to demand a more expensive price.
Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 had all been affected - but not its newer iPhone 4S. All 3G models of the iPad were involved, but not their wi-fi-only counterparts.
The separate push email ban would only come into effect if Motorola decided to enforce a second judgement that Apple's iCloud and MobileMe infringed another of its innovations.
The patent relates to two-way communications between pagers and other devices and was granted in 2002.
If Motorola decides to enforce the judgement some iPhone users in Germany would lose the ability to automatically receive emails as soon as they have been sent. Instead they would either have to manually check their accounts or set their devices to periodically check for updates.
This patent is not deemed to be critical to an industry standard, so the firm does not have to license the technology to Apple even if the iPhone-maker offered to pay.
Apple said that it believed the patent involved was invalid, adding that it was appealing against the decision.
Although the two cases only apply to Germany they may have implications for other European lawsuits. EU rules say different countries' courts can reach different conclusions, but must explain why.
Mr Mueller Mr Mueller notes on his blog that Apple has brought patent claims of its own against Motorola in Germany, and that Motorola also faces a lawsuit filed by Microsoft which is due to be considered next Tuesday.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Apple overturns Motorola's iPad and iPhone sales bans [Online] (Updated 3rd Feb 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/223197/Apple-overturns-Motorolas-iPad-and-iPhone-sales-bans [Accessed 18th Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com