Apple's victory in a German appeals court not only allows it to keep selling the iPhone and iPad, but also lands a blow against Motorola Mobility and Google.
victory over Motorola Mobility in a German appeals court allows it to keep
selling the iPhone and iPad online. Apple apparently made an offer for patent-licensing
terms that the court found agreeable; and according to one analyst, if Motorola
turns down that revised agreement, it could pose substantial risks for both it
and soon-to-be-parent-company Google.
hoping to gain near-term leverage against Apple and Microsoft through the
aggressive pursuit of injunctive relief based on standard-essential patents,
patent expert Florian Mueller wrote in a Feb. 27 posting on his FOSS Patents blog. Google, which was totally
in agreement with MMIs litigation strategy, was hoping to buy that leverage
for $12.5 billion.
Motorola fails to accept Apples new proposal, Mueller wrote, then it risks a
potential antitrust violation, with penalties, including fines from the
European Commission, the European Unions antitrust watchdog. Meanwhile, until
the actual appeal works its way through the system, Motorola is apparently
barred from further enforcement of its standard-essential patent injunction
against Apple in Germany. (Motorolas other injunction against Apple in
Germanyapparently not based on a standard-essential patentisnt affected by
this particular battle.)
impact on Google could be far larger than the outcome of a German court case.
With todays ruling, Googlorolas strategy has failed even before the
companies have formally merged, Mueller added. This is such a major blow to
Googles patent strategy that ¦ it should now give serious consideration to the
possibility of coughing up the $2.5 billion breakup fee.
Motorolas only opponent in Germany. Microsoft recently filed a formal
complaint with the European Commission against Motorola Mobility and Google,
arguing that the latter broke an earlier promise to make patents available on
We have taken
this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our
Xbox game console and other products, Dave Heiner, vice president and deputy
general counsel of Microsofts Corporate Standards & Antitrust Group, wrote
in a Feb. 22 posting on the Microsoft on the Issues blog. Their offense?
These products enable people to view videos on the Web and to connect wirelessly
to the Internet using industry standards.
telling, Motorola and other companies agreed to common technical standards for
video and WiFi, the better for building compatible products. In exchange,
patents governing those standards would be made available to participants on
fair and reasonable terms.
Apple and Google cant beat their respective opponents on store shelves, in
other words, each is more than willing to continue to fight in court.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.