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Motorola 1 Apple 0 – wireless patent fight

Motorola executives will be smiling today, as a German court has ruled against Apple in an ongoing battle over patents.

Motorola have complained that Apple failed to license one of their wireless intellectual properties. Apple use this technology in their 3G iPads and iPhones. Motorola may now try to force Apple to remove the feature from their products, or even call a stop to their sales in Germany. Apple have said that they intend to appeal the ruling.

Motorola have claimed that the ruling validated its “efforts to enforce its patents against Apple’s infringement”.

Apple replied saying “We’re going to appeal the court’s ruling right away. Holiday shoppers in Germany should have no problem finding the iPad or iPhone they want.”

This case is particularly interesting as Motorola have accepted Google’s takeover deal, set for 2012. This could place Google in a battle with Apple.

The patent dispute is based around a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system”. Motorola license this patent to other companies on ‘FRAND’ (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms.

The BBC add “The owner of a Frand-type patent is obligated to license out its technology to third-parties because the invention has been declared to be essential to an industry standard.

Apple had offered to pay a Frand-set fee going forward and was willing to pay a similar rate for past infringements. But it lost the case because it tried to retain the right to contest the validity of the patent with a view to past damages.

It tried to do this because Motorola had defended its right to charge an above-Frand rate for Apple’s use of its technology over the past four years. This could have been many times higher than the rate Apple was willing to pay and potentially very expensive.

Motorola will have to post a 100m euro (£85m; $133m) bond if it wishes to enforce a sales injunction against Apple. The cash would cover compensation to Apple if the ruling was later overturned.”

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