Last 13 September saw another blow to rivals of Apple when a court in Munich ordered Motorola Mobility (MMI), the Google-owned company, to recall all their Android tablets and smartphones that were shipped to the country due to infringement of “rubber bond” scrolling patent owned by Apple. The patent was Apple’s key in winning a billion-dollar lawsuit in US against Samsung.
The recent court decision is an apparent show of how nasty the rivalry in the smartphone business has become. MMI previously won a separate patent fight against Apple in Germany over the automatic “push” delivery of email in its iPad and iPhone devices.
The said recall will not take effect right away as Apple is yet to come up with a list of specific products to ban and to provide a bond of roughly US $32.8 million. MMI can appeal the decision though.
The court shows that it was doubtful the appeal would succeed. But with Google supporting, the appeal is expected to continue.
The court also revealed that MMI owed Apple over damages for past infringement case.
Although the said recall will not seriously pull down MMI or its business worldwide, it shows Apple’s plan to go up against the tablets and smartphones that use Google’s operating system, especially in the US and Europe.
MMI infringe the “overscroll bounce” technology of Apple which allows users to move a document over the screen before letting them bounce again to the middle after the fingers have been removed.
Google acquired MMI last year for &12.5 billion, hoping to use the company’s huge portfolio of patents to upgrade the Android platform and expand the company’s software division.
Other companies have used the same strategy to build up their products and to turn their patent acquisitions against their rivals in court battles in Europe and the US.
Two of the largest phone makers in the world, Samsung and HTC, are suing and being sued by Apple in the US and Europe.
So far, Apple is the clear winner in a landmark legal case against Samsung, with the latter obliged to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages. Apple is also trying to block sales of some of Samsung’s products including its most recent hit product, the Galaxy S3.
Germany has so far become the favorite battleground in the escalating patent wars between companies as the country offers relatively cheap and faster litigation process. Apple is on a roll of victories against companies who have violated the Cupertino giant’s patents like Samsung and Motorola. It’s certainly high time for the loss-making Motorola to stop its legal woes.