Menu
Motorola Mobility fails to make patent case against Apple in German court

Motorola Mobility fails to make patent case against Apple in German court

Just claiming a patent is essential to implement a standard is not enough, the court told Motorola Mobility

A German court has thrown out a Motorola Mobility patent lawsuit against Apple, breaking a recent run of courtroom successes for the company.

The patent enforcement action was dismissed, a spokesman for the District Court in Mannheim, Germany, said Friday.

While this ruling went in Apple's favor, the company's products are the subject of a number of other patent infringement lawsuits in Germany, brought by Motorola Mobility and also Samsung Electronics. Last week, Motorola Mobility succeeded briefly in blocking sales of Apple's mobile phones in Germany, winning an injunction to enforce an earlier patent ruling that Apple had infringed a patent essential to the GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) mobile communications standard.

Such injunctions have themselves become a bone of contention between Apple and other patent holders. Apple feels that they should not be used in relation to standards-essential patents. But injunctions are considered fair game by rival mobile OS developer Google, which could soon become the owner of Motorola Mobility if antitrust authorities approve the deal.

In Friday's judgment, the court ruled that Motorola Mobility failed to present conclusive evidence that Apple had infringed its patent, according to patent analyst Florian Mueller.

That's because, he said, Motorola Mobility relied on an argument that its European Patent 1053613, on a "method and system for generating a complex pseudonoise sequence for processing a code division multiple access signal," is essential to the UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) standard for communications, and that Apple had necessarily infringed on it in implementing the standard in its 3G phones.

Many standards bodies -- including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), which set the UMTS standard -- require that companies helping write the standard declare any relevant patents they hold and agree to license those essential to the standard on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. But because the essential nature of such patents is typically determined by the patent holder itself, Motorola Mobility's argument is somewhat circular.

Motorola Mobility failed to demonstrate that the accused Apple products actually practice the claimed invention, Mueller wrote on his FOSS Patents blog. It "didn't show any kind of actual implementation (neither hardware nor software), and arguing merely on the basis of the specifications of the standard was insufficient to win."

While demonstrating in court that a mobile phone's user interface infringes a patent may be simple enough, showing how the chips or the low-level software inside it work is a different matter. But Motorola Mobility may still try to make that case: according to Mueller, the company is asserting the same patent against Apple's online store in a lawsuit filed in district court in Dusseldorf -- and that case has not yet gone to trial.

An Apple spokesman said the company was aware of the ruling but declined to comment on the case, while Motorola Mobility representatives did not return requests for comment.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments