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German Court Stops Motorola From Enforcing FRAND Abusing Patents Against Apple

FOSS Patents has just reported that a German appeals court has awarded Apple a ruling that will prevent Motorola (who is currently in the process of being aquired by Google) from making Apple remove all of their 3G devices from their webstore.

Apple managed to get the injunction temporarily overturned earlier this month by revising their offer to Motorola for its standard-essential wireless patents.

According to FOSS Patents:

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court (“Oberlandesgericht Karlsruhe”), the appeals court within whose circuit the Mannheim Regional Court is based, decided today that Motorola Mobility is barred from further enforcement of its standard-essential patent injunction against Apple in Germany at least for the duration of the ongoing appeal (which I believe will take a year, if not more). And while today’s decision is only a summary and preliminary decision that MMI could overturn during the course of the full-blown appellate proceedings, this indicates that Apple’s appeal is highly likely to succeed — and even if it didn’t, Apple could realistically resolve the problem with limited additional concessions.

The court also warned Motorola that any further attempts to ban iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch devices would turn into a violation of anti-trust laws.

This could potentially be a huge blow for Motorolla in terms of the value it takes away from them in the eyes of Google.

Florian Mueller reports:

Motorola was hoping to gain near-term leverage against Apple and Microsoft through the aggressive pursuit of injunctive relief based on standard-essential patents. Google, which was totally in agreement with MMI’s litigation strategy, was hoping to buy that leverage for $12.5 billion, and Germany was a key part of that plan because its legal system places a relatively high burden on implementers of standards invoking the FRAND defense. In fact, Google’s public statement on the post-acquisition use of MMI’s patents proposed the German approach to FRAND as the way forward for the whole world. With today’s ruling, Googlorola’s strategy has failed even before the companies have formally merged. This is such a major blow to Google’s patent strategy that, from a mere shareholder value point of view, it should now give serious consideration to the possibility of coughing up the $2.5 billion break-up fee agreed upon with MMI’s board of directors and walk out on this deal. After all, that $2.5 billion payment would be an affordable subsidy for the only totally Google-aligned company among the major handset makers. But in all likelihood, Google will nevertheless try to close the deal, if only to avoid a colossal embarrassment for its CEO and other decision-makers.

This doesn’t affect Motorola’s other cases against Apple, but you can definitely chalk it up as another major win for the Cupertino juggernaut.




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