Tag Archives: germany

Patent Wars: Apple Loses To Samsung And Moto In Germany, Australia

Photo by rb3m - http://flic.kr/p/6sFFE4

In the ever-changing patent wars, somedays you are the windshield and some days you are the bug. After coming up roses Thursday, Apple finds itself on the losing side against Samsung and Motorola.

An Australian court today dismissed Apple’s request to continue the country’s ban on Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet. The ruling by the Australian High Court means the South Korean company will be able to hawk its device during the all-important Christmas buying period.

In an ironic move, the court also ordered the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant pay legal costs. Conversely, on Thursday, a French court denied Samsung’s bid to ban the iPhone 4S, ruling the smartphone maker must pay Apple’s court costs. Apple and Samsung are engaged in courtroom brawls covering some 10 nations.

Apple suffered a second patent loss Friday, this time in Germany. That nation’s court ordered an injunction against the iPhone and iPads using 3G. Motorola claimed the Apple devices infringed on a European patent regarding the “Method for Performing a Countdown Function During a Mobile-originated Transfer for a Packet Radio System.” Patent expert Florian Mueller, writing at FOSS Patents, said the patent was ruled essential for the GPRS standard, a version of 3G used widely used in Europe.

The ruling comes after a German court sided with Motorola in an earlier default judgement against Apple. The default judgement was entered after Apple failed to respond to Motorola’s complaint. Today’s court decision actually carries a penalty compared to the essentially administrative default ruling.

Although the iPhone 4S was released after Motorola filed the German lawsuit, Mueller believes Apple’s newest iPhone would also contain the offending technology. However, the actual ruling mentions only the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G.

While Apple’s next step is unknown, one potential reaction could be for the company to modify its products to remove the patented technology. The company is expected to unveil a new iPhone and iPad in early 2012.

Similar Posts:



Apple says it’s set to lose $2.7 billion if judge sides with Motorola in patent case

Following Motorola winning a possible injunction against Apple mobile products in Germany, Apple has told a German court it is set to lose $2.7 billion if it rules in favor of Motorola regarding a patent case related to an “emailing syncing patent”, according to a report from Bloomberg (via BusinessInsider). Apple has reportedly requested the court to demand Motorola provide $2.7 billion in collateral in the event the judge sides with Motorola. Bloomberg reports:

German courts often require the winning side in a case to post collateral if it wants to enforce a ruling while the other side is appealing. The amount reflects the losses the party is facing when forced to comply with the ruling. If it wins the appeals, it can seek damages and can make use of the collateral held for that.

While we have no information about how exactly Apple has come to that figure, the judge hearing the case apparently doesn’t agree with Apple’s valuation:

“I am not yet entirely sure that amount adequately mirrors the commercial value of this dispute … The technology isn’t a standard and there are alternative ways to provide the same services.”

As for the patent at the center of the case, according to FossPatents it was actually originally filed in 1996 to cover a method of synchronizing settings from a pager across multiple devices through a backend server, functionality Motorola claims is similar to features of Apple’s iCloud service. Apple reportedly refused to defend itself against the patent in question as it relates to iCloud, but could be forced to employ an alternative method of synchronization or remove access to iCloud software in Germany if an injunction is ultimately granted. Another hearing is slated for December 2 in Mannheim.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com



Apple could lose German patent case vs. Samsung in January, gives up iPhone 4S firmware in Australia

In Australia, as part of discovery, Samsung got access to Apple’s Qualcomm baseband source code for the iPhone 4S (lookout for battery issues while you are in there Sammy!).

Other matters appeared to be resolved, including Samsung’s access to the firmware used in the iPhone 4S’ baseband chip, supplied by Qualcomm.

A software expert had approximately two hours’ access to the firmware and would submit his findings by Sunday.

According to FOSSPatents, Samsung’s lawsuits against Apple in Germany are really heating up after a Mannheim hearing set a schedule for January 20 and 27 of 2012. It looks like Apple has a tough case, as the hearing leaned towards Samsung’s claims.

The two patents asserted in today’s litigations are

  • EP1005726 on a “turbo encoding/decoding device and method for processing frame data according to QoS”, and
  • EP1114528 on an “apparatus and method for controlling a demultiplexer and a multiplexer used for rate matching in a mobile communication system”.

Samsung’s third German complaint against Apple, which wasn’t at issue today, relates to EP1188269 on an “apparatus for encoding a transformat format combination indicator for a communication system”.

Below is a full rundown of the issues discussed at today’s hearing..

The hearing mostly focused on claim construction, or interpreting key terms on which the scope of the patents depend. Apple tried to exclude it’s products by narrowing the definitions of the Samsung patents. However, the judge didn’t appear to side with the Apple’s point of view and stated that the only way to have an outcome in Apple’s favor would be by proving that Samsung’s claims were invalid for at least one of the patents.

Apple tried to justify it’s claims that the patents couldn’t be used in lawsuits as they were essential standards. However, the judge stated that Apple must first ask for a license before it can complain of abuse. The court also appeared to be indecisive towards Apple’s response that the two companies had done business for years and Samsung never mentioned patent licensing until faced with a lawsuit for supposedly copying Apple.

Apple again argued that the license may have already been paid for by it’s cellular chipset makers and that Samsung couldn’t charge again, but Samsung supposedly refused to provide details of its license deals with a pre-Intel Infineon.

The hearing wasn’t a definite verdict but it looks like there is a high possibility that Apple will be found violating at least one of the patents in the January hearings. Apple has been doing fairly well in it’s legal battles so far, bringing down Samsung’s arguments in the Netherlands, and getting Galaxy Tab bans in Germany and Australia. But Motorola did manage to win an injunction by default against Apple last week, and it appears that Samsung might do the same next year. Both sides are pushing hard to win the suits before losing money in a large market.



Apple Told To Stop Selling Products In Germany Within Two Weeks… But Apple’s Unlikely To Comply

Apple's Munich Store Photo by Vokabre - http://flic.kr/p/6SoES8

Despite a preliminary injunction granted Motorola Mobility on Friday, Apple continues to sell products in Germany. The tech giant has a two-week window until it must argue why a court’s default judgement should be reversed, averting the possible stop of retail and online sales in the nation.

Friday’s injunction was a default judgement due to the company not responding to Motorola’s allegations in time. As the FOSS Patents legal site notes: “a company with Apple’s quality and quantity of resources is less likely to fail to defend itself properly than to make a default judgment part of some tactical plan.” The reasoning? Apple can reverse the court’s decision by just providing the court a sufficient argument.

However, if the court once more sides with Motorola, Apple’s parent company, Apple Inc., could be facing some heavy retroactive penalties for selling iPhones and iPads in the interim. An open question if the injunction stands is whether Apple’s German operations will be hurt, since the court’s order is aimed at the corporate headquarters, not the company’s affiliate. One camp believes Apple Germany could continue selling iProducts, despite the sanction against the corporate parent. But since Apple Inc. supplies its German affiliate, would the injunction also reach sales to consumers in the European nation?

We should have a clearer picture of the possible ramifications in two weeks, when Apple must provide its defense.

Similar Posts:



Did Motorola just win an injunction barring Apple from selling mobile products in Germany?

Florian Mueller isn’t a patent attorney but he plays one on his blog FOSSPatents.  For better or worse, he’s often quoted in the ongoing mobile technology patent battles where the winner is often Apple.  He’s also German so he probably understands this new, disturbing ruling a lot better than us (Our German is “rostig”)

Apple knows what it’s like to win injunctions against rivals. It won four of them against Samsung (two in Germany, one in the Netherlands and most recently one in Australia; all of them preliminary). Now it seems that Apple has just come out on the losing end of a patent infringement lawsuit. I have received a copy of what purports to be a default judgment by the Mannheim Regional Court barring Apple from selling in Germany — the single largest market in Europe – any mobile devices infringing on two Motorola Mobility patents and determining that Apple owes Motorola Mobility damages for past infringement since April 19, 2003.

If true, this would be a Hindenburg-sized backfire for Apple’s legal efforts in Europe.

The two patents and their US equivalents, Statements from Apple and Motorola and an update from Mueller below:

Update: It looks like Motorola is confirming the injunction with this press statement:

“As media and mobility continue to converge, Motorola Mobility’s patented technologies are increasingly important for innovation within the wireless and communications industries, for which Motorola Mobility has developed an industry leading intellectual property portfolio. We will continue to assert ourselves in the protection of these assets, while also ensuring that our technologies are widely available to end-users. We hope that we are able to resolve this matter, so we can focus on creating great innovations that benefit the industry.”

Apple’s official statement:

This is a procedural issue that has nothing to do with the merits of the case. This does not affect our ability to sell products or do business in Germany at this time.

Mueller notes in an email to 9to5Mac:

I have updated my blog post to comment on Motorola’s and Apple’s statements and on the claim that this is “totally symbolic” because it affects “only” Apple’s worldwide parent company, not the German subsidiary at this stage.

At the end of the updated post I list the three issues that this injunction raises regardless of whether or not it binds the German subsidiary directly:

1. Even Apple’s German website belongs to Cupertino, not to the German subsidiary, and Motorola could argue it’s an act of “offering” the products banned under the ruling.

2. In the German Galaxy Tab 10.1 case, Apple sued not only Samsung Germany but also Samsung Korea (a fact that played quite a role in that case). Apple and other right holders sue worldwide parent companies all the time. Nobody would do it if there were no point in it. It’s a very risky assumption that a worldwide parent company can’t be held responsible in any way for what its wholly-owned subsidiaries do.

3. Under the injunction, Apple Inc. cannot deliver new goods to Apple GmbH.

In this overall context it’s important to consider that Apple says the ruling does not affect its business “at this time”. What does “at this time” mean? Until the German subsidiary runs out of supply? Until Motorola Mobility takes further action to enforce this? Maybe Apple will get a ruling on the actual merits of the case before there’s business impact. But that’s not clear.

 

  1. EP (European Patent) 1010336 (B1) on a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system”; this is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898
  2. EP (European Patent) 0847654 (B1) on a “multiple pager status synchronization system and method”; this is the European equivalent of U.S. Patent No. 5,754,119


Check Out This Awesome Steve Jobs Portrait Made From 4,001 Post-it Notes

Since Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, we’ve seen a stack of awesome of tribute images created from MacBook parts, Minecraft building blocks, and even salt. However, this has to be one of my favorite: a portrait of Steve created with 4,001 Post-it notes.

The image was created on the window of an Apple retail store in Munich, Germany, and as you can see from the time-lapse video below, it took a long time to build.

It’s wonderful to see a group of people put so much effort into paying their respects, and it’s great that the staff at this particular Apple store allowed fans to decorate its window with 4,001 Post-it notes.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Kd6gAXmLs

[via MacRumors]

Similar Posts:



Does Siri handle thick accents well? Not really…

We stumbled across this video on YouTube… and Siri clearly should not yet be used by non-native speakers of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, or Germany. As you can see in the video, the speaker is talking in English but with a foreign accent, and Siri does not understand one command. “Read dick”.

Update: Australian accent tested by Gizmodo AU below: