Apple today scored a big victory in its never-ending legal battle against Motorola Mobility. A German court ruled that Motorola could not enforce an injunction that prevented the sale of some iPads and iPhones. Motorola won the original case and, earlier this month, Apple was forced to remove select iPads and iPhone models from its German online store for a short time. Apple’s defense was the Illinois-based manufacturer must license its essential (FRAND) patent to other companies on fair terms
According to FOSS Patents, this ruling should cause Google to reconsider its purchase of the troubled hardware maker:
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.
First, let’s make a couple of things clear. The ruling on the FRAND case threatened all iProducts from staying on store shelves, but because Moto wouldn’t accept Apple’s offer (money or a percentage) to license its standard-essential patent; the courts deemed it as an antitrust violation. This ruling handed down by the Mannheim court doesn’t in any way effect Motorola’s other injunction against Apple, which is also being enforced and has made Apple disable push email for German iCloud and MobileMe users.
With all that said, no one with sense thought Motorola would get its way when it came to refusing an offer from Apple, an offer in which most industry and patent experts considered fair. But to say this ruling should cause Google to review its acquisition of Motorola is a bit much. Google bought Motorola for its large trove of patents to protect itself from litigation from the likes of Microsoft and Apple. Truth is, Motorola’s real patent strength is in IP communications — cloud stuff — which is a big part of what Apple is doing today with iCloud. The cloud tech is what I’m keeping my eyes on.
[via FOSS Patents]