On Friday, Motorola Mobility was granted a preliminary injunction against Apple by a German regional court, but despite that victory, it’s business as usual for the iPhone maker in Germany as of Monday. Apple’s retail and online stores are still selling the company’s entire range of products, for now.
That’s because, as Apple itself has pointed out, the ruling in question is primarily procedural. It’s a default judgement, which means that Apple apparently wasn’t able to mount a sufficient defense in time. That gives Apple the chance to reverse or suspend the decision based on its own arguments, which it must submit to the court within two weeks, according to patent law blog FOSS Patents.
So in the immediate future, that means Apple can go on selling its products, none of which were specifically addressed in the injunction order. But once Apple has a chance to redress this default judgement, if things still go in favor of Motorola Mobility, it could run into considerable retroactive damage payouts for its continued sales of iPads and iPhones, which appear to be broadly implicated as the offending products based on the patents at issue in the case. Motorola accused Apple of infringing on two of its patents related to wireless tech, including a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system,” and a “multiple pager status synchronization system and method.”
Apple’s parent company, Apple Inc., is the party against which the injunction has force, not Apple’s regional German subsidiary. Some argue that that would allow it to continue to do business in the country even with an injunction in place, at least through retail stores, but Apple Inc. manages all online sales. It is also ultimately responsible for supplying national subsidiaries, so if an injunction is upheld, it will have a significant business impact for Apple in Germany.
For now, however, the German online store and German Apple retail stores remain in business. German lawyers consulted by FOSS Patents seem to think Apple stands a good chance of suspending the injunction, but by no means is the iPad maker out of the woods. In other words, if you’re German and you want an iPhone 4S, sometime within the next two weeks might be the time to get one.