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Motorola wins permanent injunction against Apple's iCloud in German court (update: ban lifted)

Amar Toor, @amartoo
02.03.12
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There's another legal brouhaha brewing in Germany, where Motorola today won an injunction against Apple's iCloud. In a decision handed down from the infamous Mannheim Regional Court this morning, Judge Andreas Voss issued a permanent injunction against Cupertino's cloud-based service and any devices that use it, following a complaint that Motorola originally filed in April of last year. The two companies, as you may recall, have been going at each other rather aggressively in Germany, where Motorola scored a similar victory, back in November. At issue in today's ruling is a European Patent that outlines a "multiple pager status synchronization system and method," upon which iCloud, Motorola claims, infringes. The injunction, as FOSS Patents explains, targets Apple's Ireland-based European distribution branch, but it only applies to the German market -- not Europe, as a whole. And while it's technically "permanent," it's still "preliminarily enforceable," which means Apple can (and likely will) appeal. Motorola, meanwhile, can seek to enforce it, if it's willing to post a €100 million bond. Apple had been seeking a bond of €2 billion, but was ultimately denied. For more of the legal nitty gritty, check out the source link below.

Update 1: Citing a statement from Apple, Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency is now reporting that the company has pulled the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, and the iPhone 4 from its German online store, along with any 3G/UMTS-enabled iPads. The move appears to come in response not to today's ruling, but to a decision issued in December, when Motorola won an injunction against Apple, on the grounds that its 3G/UMTS technology infringes upon one of Moto's European patents. According to FOSS Patents, Apple presumably lost its appeal to the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court, after Motorola sought to enforce the injunction.

Update 2: Apple has formally responded to each of today's events, confirming its plans to appeal the court's ruling on iCloud, and explaining its reasoning for pulling its products. "Apple believes this old pager patent is invalid and we're appealing the courts decision," the company said in an e-mailed statement to PaidContent. As for the 3G/UMTS case, Apple says it's still lobbying for a reversal, and that the pulled devices are still available at brick-and-mortar retailers within Germany. "While some iPad and iPhone models are not available through Apple's online store in Germany right now, customers should have no problem finding them at one of our retail stores or an authorised reseller," the statement reads. "Apple is appealing this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago."

Update 3: And just like that, the BBC is reporting that Apple's exhortations have been heard, and the ban has been lifted. Details are few, but Cupertino had this to say about this latest turn of events:
"All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple's online store in Germany shortly."

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