Smart Phones in Court

In the latest round of legal battles between smart phone makers around the world, Apple has pulled its iPhones and iPads from its German online store but also said that these products will be back soon. This follows a ban placed on Apple products due to a ruling passed last December in favor of Motorola Mobility’s suit in a German Court accusing Apple of illegally using Motorola 3G cellular technology.

Apple’s iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone4 and various versions of the iPad carry technology related to the 3G UMTS, and are thus the products that have been taken off their site in Germany. On their part, Apple has a temporary stay of execution on the argument that the Motorola patent is essential to the general development of the industry and thus should be licensed in a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis and that Motorola was not following these principles in negotiating a licensing deal. Apple’s spokeswoman said that Motorola has repeatedly refused to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms despite becoming an industry standard patent about seven years ago.

Motorola on the other hand say that they are trying to defend their intellectual property and will continue to do so vigorously. They say that Apple had not responded in good faith to their efforts that started in 2007 and lasted 3 years to work out a reasonable licensing deal with them.  This coupled with Apples aggressive litigation against the Android platform has pushed Motorola to take Apple to court in this matter, though they are committed to licensing over litigation. Motorola has said that they are pleased with the verdict passed by the Mannheim court recognizing Motorola’s intellectual property rights.

This is just one of the many legal battles going on between Apple and a host of Android vendors including Samsung in a bid to gain superiority in the lucrative smart phone market.  Both sides would like to see a situation where there is a ban placed on the others products so that they could then negotiate a cross-licensing deal from a position of advantage.


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