FutureFive NZ - Is Apple losing the patent war?

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Is Apple losing the patent war?

A court in Manheim, Germany has ruled in favour of Motorola Mobility in a patent infringement case which could eventually see Apple’s entire 3G range banned in the country.

According to a release from Motorola Mobility, the suit relates to Apple’s European sales subsidiary, Apple Sales International, infringing on ‘one of Motorola Mobility’s core cellular communications patents related to Data Packet Transfer technology (GPRS)’.

As explained by Foss Patents, a blog that has been chronicling the global patent war, the suit includes the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. The iPhone 4S, while not released at the time the suit was begun, most likely uses the same technology.

Apple will undoubtedly appeal the ruling; if it doesn’t win a stay, Motorola Mobility may pay a bond of 100 million Euro to enforce the ruling, a sum it will lose if the ruling is overturned.

"There’s no question that this is a major win for Motorola Mobility,” writes Foss Patents blogger, Florian Mueller.

The decision came as Apple’s injunction against Samsung selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia was overturned, allowing the Korean device manufacturer to begin selling the device just in time for Christmas.

Apple has also been criticised for providing patents to a business accused of being a ‘patent troll’ – a company that buys patents for the purpose of litigating against other users of the technology.

A scathing report by TechCrunch suggests Apple secretly transferred two patents to Digitude Innovations, which has since launched a suit against a host of technology companies including RIM, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Amazon and Nokia.

For its part, Apple have cried foul in regards to a suit in the US, saying Samsung is deliberately stalling the court action by refusing to provide documents.

Apple Insider, again citing Foss Patents, says Samsung have only produced 71 documents totalling 241 pages, compared with Apple’s one million pages.

Compounding the difficulty is the fact much of Samsung’s paperwork needs to be translated into English from Korean.

Do you think Apple is losing the patent war? Post your comments below.

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