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Patent dispute: Motorola Mobility wins injunction against Apple in Germany

Apple-gavel-antitrust-governement-lawsIt appears that it’s been a rather bad week for Apple in the European courts. A report on Friday said that Apple had lost a patent infringement battle with Motorola Mobility in Germany –  this in the same week that a Spanish court also ruled against the Cupertino-based company. 

Florian Mueller wrote in a post on the FOSS Patents blog on Friday that the Mannheim Regional Court had granted Motorola Mobility an injunction against Apple, maker of the iPhone and iPad.

Mueller explains that the court ruling doesn’t specify which particular Apple products are at the center of the patent dispute, “but since the U.S. equivalents of both patents-in-suit were also asserted by Motorola Mobility in federal lawsuits in the United States, it appears that the entire range of Apple mobile devices is affected by this decision.”

However, banish from your mind images of store workers sweeping Apple’s mobile devices from the shelves of electronics shops across Germany – CNet’s Josh Lowensohn points out that it won’t affect sales because “the suit takes aim at Apple Inc. and not the company’s local subsidiary in the region.”

Apple’s Kristin Huguet confirmed that its products can continue to be sold in the European nation. “This is a procedural issue and has nothing to do with the merits of the case. It does not affect our ability to do business or sell products in Germany at this time,” she told Cnet.

Responding to the court’s decision, Motorola spokesperson Jennifer Erickson said: “We will continue to assert ourselves in the protection of these assets, while also ensuring that our technologies are widely available to end-users.” She added, “We hope that we are able to resolve this matter, so we can focus on creating great innovations that benefit the industry.”

One of the patents at the center of the dispute regards a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system,” while the other is a “multiple pager status synchronization system and method.” 

The judgment has come in the same week that a Spanish court also ruled against Apple in favor of a small tablet vendor following a claim by the Cupertino company that the Valencia-based firm had copied the design of the iPad.

A ban on the sale of its products in Germany would of course have come as a big blow to Apple as the holiday season approaches. The Mannheim ruling is just the latest episode in the ongoing patent wars between several of the world’s electronics giants, with courts around the world looking like they’re going to be kept busy for some time to come.

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