Apple has been forced to cease online sales of its iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and 3G-equipped iPad 2 in Germany after Motorola triumphed over the Cupertino company in a Mannheim court, securing an injunction against several of its 3G devices. Those affected are no longer available to purchase from Apple’s online store, though they can still be obtained from its retail stores.
FOSS Patent’s Florian Mueller reports that Apple has infringed upon Motorola’s FRAND-pledged patents which are essential to its 3G/UMTS products available through its online store in Germany. The only device available through the store from today is its new iPhone 4S, which seems to be unaffected by the ruling.
What’s interesting is that the injunction only affects online sales, so these devices can still be purchased from Apple’s retail stores across Germany, and from selected carrier partners. However, Motorola is said to be working to use the same patents to have these devices banned in retail stores, too.
Furthermore, the same court has placed a ban on Apple’s iCloud service, and related client devices. As a result, German iCloud users may no longer be able to have their emails “pushed” to their devices, and will be forced to configure them to check for new mail periodically instead. Though this is yet to be confirmed.
Mueller reports that he doesn’t believe the two cases are related:
At this stage I am absolutely convinced that the removal of those products from Apple’s online store is a result of Motorola Mobility’s enforcement of a ruling that was handed down in early December, and not related to today’s ruling. It must be nothing more than a coincidence that Apple’s announcement of the removal of products — which some observers believe already happened last night, prior to the ruling — comes on the day of a different court decision.
It is believed that Motorola paid a €100 million (approx. $63.18 million) bond to enforce the ban on iOS devices, but Apple’s iPhone 4S is not affected because it uses a Qualcomm baseband chip as opposed to the Infineon/Intel chip used in older devices.
Apple argues that Motorola has repeatedly refused to license the patent in question, and that it will appeal the decision. In an email to paidContent, the company said:
While some iPad and iPhone models are not available through Apple’s online store in Germany right now, customers should have no problem finding them at one of our retail stores or an authorised reseller. Apple is appealing this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.
[via The Next Web]