Feeds

iPhones yanked from German shelves in Motorola patent war

Apple takes down 4 and 3G models - for now

The essential guide to IT transformation

Apple has removed the iPhone 4 and 3Gs from its stores in Germany, almost certainly in response to Motorola's December action rather than today's patent win.

But today's German court victory for Motorola is probably more important: it covers Apple's iCloud service and – by extension – any device which uses it. Apple will be appealing that decision, and Motorola can't get the decision enforced without lodging a €100m bond to cover restitution in case Apple wins the appeal.

But it seems Motorola has done exactly that with reference to its December win, forcing Apple to pull the iPhone 4 and 3Gs, and the cellular-supporting iPad, from the German Apple store.

That December ruling was based on a patent which is declared essential to the 3G standard, and therefore should be licensed under Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) rules, but Motorola reckons Apple tried to have conditions attached to the licence relieving Motorola of its FRAND obligations.

The German court agreed, though the matter is still subject to appeal. Apple asked the court to impose a €2bn bond on enforcement, money it would be entitled to claim against if it wins the appeal, but the court reckoned €100m would be enough to avoid frivolous enforcement and Apple is still free to claim for more - if it wins the appeal.

We don't know if Motorola, or Google, will stump up another €100m to force Germans to switch off iCloud. Florian Mueller, who spends a good deal of time looking at such things, reckons German Apple users could be required to start pulling their MobileMe emails (as opposed to having messages pushed to them, as that's covered by the Motorola patent).

He also hypothesises that the iPhone 4S is still on German shelves as it uses a radio chip from Qualcomm, which might well have a licence from Motorola, as opposed to the Intel chips used in the iPad as well as earlier models of iPhone.

We've reached out to Apple for confirmation on those points, and heard nothing back so far, but Cupertino has been a good deal more chatty lately so we'll let you know if we hear more.

The cold war between Google and Apple is obviously heating up. Although the ruling won't be applicable outside Germany, it has resulted in Apple products being pulled from the shelves, and won't be the last blood spilled before this is over. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.