A court in Germany has ruled Tuesday that the Motorola Xoom tablet does not infringe on Apple’s iPad(s AAPL) design, thus rejecting Apple’s bid to get the tablet banned for sale in Europe, Dow Jones reports.
Apple wasn’t the only loser in the ruling, however. The case is ultimately a loss for both parties since the same judges also disagreed with Motorola’s previous claim that Apple’s iPad design patent was invalid. As a result, both parties have to cover court costs generated by the dispute that originated in early 2011 — Apple was ordered to pay two-thirds and Motorola one-third.
While it’s getting hard to keep track of who’s suing whom in the mobile industry these days, and on what continent, this case of Apple versus Motorola is basically a fight between Apple and Google(s GOOG). While Apple has sued a bunch of hardware makers that license Android, the Motorola Xoom runs the Android mobile operating system but is also owned by Google, whom Apple has been targeting indirectly through these legal channels.
So while this could be read as a small victory, ultimately, for Google and Android, it’s mostly symbolic, since Google’s hopes for tablet success do not really hinge on the Xoom. Motorola has sold roughly 1 million of the tablets in a little over a year. Google is betting much bigger on the new Nexus 7 tablet, which is just now shipping to customers. The Nexus 7 has been well reviewed and is seen as the first true Android tablet that could challenge the iPad’s tablet dominance.