FOSS Patents is reporting that they have received what looks to be an authentic ruling from the German courts awarding Motorola Mobility an injunction against Apple in Germany. He adds this statement in response to the leak:
Should the document that I received be a hoax, it would be an incredibly sophisticated one. It’s hard to imagine anyone with the skill to do this would incur the immense risks associated with the criminal prosecution of forgery of a court document. Also, I contacted both Apple and Motorola Mobility to verify this, and by the time of publishing this blog post, neither company responded. So they both had their opportunity to deny the authenticity of the document.
The patents involved are
- EP (European Patent) 0847654 (B1) on a “multiple pager status synchronization system and method”; this is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent No. 5,754,119
- EP (European Patent) 1010336 (B1) on a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system”; this is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898
Both of these patents apparently apply to all of the mobile devices Apple has sold to date. Germany is the leading market for smartphones in Europe and has been in the news lately in other patent fights involving Apple. Apple has managed to be fairly effective in winning preliminary injunctions against HTC and Samsung, the latter losing in Germany (x2), the Netherlands, and Australia.
What differentiates this ruling is the fact that it can be enforced now even during the appeals process. Mueller goes on to explain in more depth
According to the document, this decision can be executed “preliminarily”, which means under German law that Motorola Mobility can enforce this injunction against Apple from now on even ifApple appeals the ruling (which I’m pretty sure it will). That means Apple may temporarily — until a second judgment is entered — be barred from selling any mobile devices in Germany. Apple wouldn’t be the first defendant in Germany to pursue a tactic called “Flucht in die Säumnis” (“resorting to a default judgment”).
This could have very expensive ramifications for Apple. This could play out very well for Motorola Mobility (and in the long-run Google). Losing the biggest European market cannot be viewed as a minor victory. Perhaps this could finally help put a nail in the coffin of all of Apple’s attacks against Google’s Android Operating System via systematic attacks on the OEMs who build Android devices.