The Mannheim Regional Court in Germany early on Friday said that Apple had violated patents that belong to Motorola Mobility with its 3G- and GPRS-enabled iOS-based devices, such as iPhone or iPad. In case Apple does not manage to overturn the decision in a higher court or sign a cross-licensing agreement with Motorola Mobility, sales of iOS devices may be banned in Germany and the EU.
The patent-in-suit is European Patent 1010336 (B1) on a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system", which is essential to the general packet radio service (GPRS) standard. This patent is one of the two patents at issue in the action in which a default judgment was entered against Apple, reports FOSS Patents blog. The Court granted Motorola Mobility’s requests for an injunction and damages, which allows Motorola to demand banning sales of GPRS-supporting devices from Apple and request paying for use of technology.
GPRS is supported by Apple iPhone smartphones and Apple iPad tablets. While Apple can technically disable GPRS technology somehow, it will likely not do it since there are more patents in this battle and some parts of GPRS may be fundamental for 3G/3.5G.
The major problem for Apple is that Motorola Mobility is the company that is to become a part of Apple's arch-rival Google. Apple believes that Google's Android OS infringes its patents and Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, once promised to launch a thermonuclear war against Android. Apple has loads of ongoing patent wars against HTC or Samsung Electronics - the companies that use Google Android operating system - across the world and a cross-licensing agreement with Google would end them nearly instantly locking Apple from slowing down the adoption of the platform.
"We are pleased with the court’s ruling. Today’s decision validates Motorola Mobility’s efforts to enforce its patents against Apple’s infringement. Motorola Mobility has worked hard over the years to build an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio that is respected by the telecommunications industry, and we are proud to leverage this portfolio to create differentiated innovations that enhance the user experience. 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 U.S. 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," said Scott Offer, senior vice president and general counsel of Motorola Mobility.