Updated. The ongoing legal saga of Apple v. Motorola saw two setbacks for Apple in Germany on Friday. First, Motorola was granted a permanent injunction by a German court against a feature of Apple’s iCloud on certain Apple devices. Motorola won another victory after Apple removed several older models of iPhones and some iPads from its German online store due to the enforcement of a separate patent.
Patent blog FOSS Patents says the two actions are unrelated, and that Apple removing some older products comes because Motorola moved to enforce an important patent victory it won back in December. It was then that a judge ruled that Motorola had a patent on a ”method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system.”
The result is that only older devices like the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and 3G iPads were removed. Why not the iPhone 4S? It could be because the iPhone 4S has a chip from Qualcomm. The affected models have Infineon chips. Qualcomm chips could be safe for Apple in this case, according to FOSS Patents, if we assume “that Motorola and Qualcomm have a cross-license agreement in place (just like Samsung and Qualcomm do)” which would mean that “Apple is covered by extension, as a result of what is called patent exhaustion (a patent owner gets paid only once for the same use of a patent in a product).”
Perhaps more worrisome for some Apple customers who own the iPhone 4S in Germany right now is an injunction that affects iCloud users who want push notifications on their phones. The ruling affects any Apple devices that can receive push email notifications from iCloud or the earlier version, MobileMe. While neither service will get shut down as a result of the ruling, Apple will likely have to come up with a workaround for its iCloud/MobileMe customers there.
Apple won’t be letting this one go. As a company representative told PaidContent in a bit of subtle snarkiness on Friday, “Apple believes this old pager patent is invalid and we’re appealing the court’s decision.”
Update: It looks like the same German court may have suspended the injunction on the older 3G iPhones and iPads and they will be on sale again in “a matter of hours.” Apple told AllThingsD just now: “All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple’s online store in Germany shortly. Apple appealed 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.”