Bloomberg News

Apple Gets Partial Win Against Motorola Mobility in Germany

February 27, 2012

(Updates with dispute background from seventh paragraph.)

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. won a partial victory in a patent case against Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. over mobile-device technology in Germany.

The Munich Regional Court granted an injunction against Motorola Mobility mobile phones that use methods for unlocking touch screens protected by a European patent owned by Apple, company spokesman Alan Hely said in an e-mailed statement.

Part of Apple’s case was dismissed, said Marcus Grosch, Motorola Mobility’s German lawyer. The court ruled that Motorola Mobility Xoom tablets don’t violate Apple’s patent, he said.

Today’s ruling is Apple’s first win in Germany after Motorola Mobility won two out of three rulings in suits it filed against Apple in a Mannheim court. The world’s most valuable technology company was forced to briefly remove some older iPhone and iPad models from its online store in Germany earlier this month when Motorola Mobility sought to enforce its first win from December.

Motorola Mobility “has implemented a new design for the feature,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement. “Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales.”

European and U.S. antitrust regulators earlier this week approved Google Inc.’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. The deal arms Google with patents to protect its Android operating system, used by smartphones and tablets from companies including Motorola Mobility that compete with Apple’s products. The regulators warned they will continue to watch how the companies use patents in litigation.

Rising Demand

Motorola Mobility, Samsung Electronics Co., Apple and Microsoft Corp. are involved in numerous patent lawsuits in around the world as demand for smartphones and tablets rises. Global smartphone shipments surged 55 percent in the fourth quarter in part on demand for Apple’s iPhone 4S, International Data Corporation said last week.

Google’s Android operating system is also used by devices from HTC Corp. and Samsung that compete with Apple products.

The Munich case today centered on Apple’s European patent EP1964022B1 that protects a method for unlocking a device in which the user swipes his finger across an image.

Today’s case is LG Muenchen, 7 O 11395/11, 7 O 19692/11.

--With assistance from Oliver Suess in Munich. Editors: Heather Smith, Peter Chapman

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at kmatussek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Scinta at cscinta@bloomberg.net


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