Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

Summary: After its world-wide anti-Android patent lawsuit witch-hunt, could Apple having much of its iPhone line and iPads being banned for sale in Germany due to a patent violation happen to a nicer company?

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I like Apple products. God knows I own and use enough of them. But, I hate their out-sourcing business practices and their world-wide anti-Android lawsuits. So, when I learned this morning that Motorola Mobility had won a permanent injunction against Apple's iCloud service in Germany because of a patent violation and Motorola had followed that up with another patent victory, which has forced Apple to take all its older phones, 3G and 4 and all iPads off its German online store (German language link), I was pleased.

True, Apple can still sell its current iPhone 4S in Germany, but this is a real kick in the teeth for Apple and its patent attack ways. Apple is putting the best face it can on its defeat. An Apple spokesperson said, "Even if some iPad and iPhone models are currently not available in our online store in Germany, customers should have no problem finding these devices in our stores or from authorized dealers." Sure. Right. The bottom line is that iCloud's functionality has been crippled and German Apple customers will have trouble getting their favorite mobile products.

Apple iPads and some iPhones are no longer available for sale in Germany.

Apple iPads and some iPhones are no longer available for sale online in Germany.

As always, the patents that are being used in these cases seem dubious at best to me. In the case of iCloud, Motorola used an old pager-related patent to prevent Apple from using push technology to send e-mail automatically to iCloud enabled services. Push technology, oh yeah, no one thought of that before the 90s!

The Motorola patent that's knocked most iPhone models and iPads off German stores covers General packet radio service (GPRS). This is the data transmission standard built on top of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication). GPRS is used for data communication on 2G and 3G GSM networks.

This patent is also stupid. It describes a way to perform a countdown function over a 3G connection. You know, "Ten seconds to complete your download, three, two, one, download complete." Who could ever have thought of that one!

Apple argued that this countdown mechanism wasn't essential to data transmission. I agree, but hey, what does anyone with common sense know about software patents? Therefore, Apple tried to defeat this patent lawsuit with a Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory terms (FRAND) defense (PDF Link), The German court didn't buy this defense.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, should get on the phone to Google and Samsung's top brass and agree to stop wasting everyone's time and money with all the "Sue you, sue me" patent lawsuits and start competing in the market place rather than in the court room. That way, the stockholders would save money-international intellectual property lawsuits aren't cheap!--customers would get cheaper products, and all of us could all get back to comparing products instead of lawsuits.

Apple iPhone Germany store Image via Apple/ZDNet.

Related Stories:

Motorola wins iCloud injunction; iPhone, iPad pulled from online store

Can Apple really beat Android in the courts?

And this is why Apple doesn't want to settle Android patent lawsuits

Android's Revenge on Apple's iPhone & iPad

Apple's Worldwide War on Samsung and Android

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Cloud, Mobility

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39 comments
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  • apple is toast!

    Freedom loving companies always win in court.
    The law is on FOSS side.
    The Linux Geek
    • No, SJVN is toast

      Vitriol-filled attacks from hyper-sensitive Apple fanboys incoming...
      luke_sg
    • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

      @The Linux Geek Sorry, but the law is on the Patent's side, not FOSS. This just happens to be a case where Apple got kicked in the stones (which obviously makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside).
      samalie
      • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

        @samalie
        FOSS software is better than proprietary. If an infringement is found it is removed by the volunteers.
        The Linux Geek
    • instead of rejoicing over apple getting kicked

      @The Linux Geek you should be mad that governments allow trivial ideas to be patented. It's a costly game, and its time to end it.
      otaddy
      • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

        @otaddy - What's trivial and who defines it? Many of the best ideas are simply by nature. In my consulting business, I can't say how many times my biggest value add is to remove complexity from processes. It's trivial to me, but perhaps not to the people who originally over engineered something. If Einstein or Steven Hawking sat on the patent board would they reject everything on the basis that it was trivial?
        tdogg219
      • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

        @otaddy

        Patents on software or "any" other abstract concept should be banned. Patents are intended for mechanical devices and physical processes ONLY. That was their original purpose. Back when the Patent System was introduced Thomas Jefferson had the foresight to know that something like what's happening with Patents now was going to happen. His warning fell on deaf ears. We should have listened to him.
        thezorch
      • Correct

        @otaddy
        If I am correct, the patent should be non trivial to the people working in the corresponding field and not necessarily to the general public. Unfortunately most software patent applications are seen as some magic by the patent officers, majority of whom are not related to the field the patent is granted.
        kashyap.bikram
  • Oops, Your anti-Apple Rant was overturned upon repeal

    You may wish to review the news wire feeds, Steven, before posting.
    kenosha77a
  • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

    From the article:
    "Tim Cook, Apple???s CEO, should get on the phone to Google and Samsung???s top brass and agree to stop wasting everyone???s time and money with all the ???Sue you, sue me??? patent lawsuits and start competing in the market place rather than in the court room.

    +1 And Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, should do the same.

    However, Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, should proceed full speed ahead with the lawsuit against Google. Google's hiring Sun Microsystem's Java engineers to create Dalvik is somewhat reminiscent of Microsoft's hiring Dave Cutler and other engineers from DEC in 1988 to create Windows NT.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

      @Rabid Howler Monkey
      Agreed to a point. Taking from someones idea and expanding on it, making it better and engineering around a patent is what drives the software community. Many would say that nothing new has been innovated for quite some time. This combined with apache licenses is where google believes they are in the clear. As far as headhunting engineers there is nothing wrong with that. To the contrary, there are investigations alleging blacklisting among the big players which is considered to be wrong.
      gbrowerjr
  • You go first

    [ul][i]Tim Cook, Apple???s CEO, should get on the phone to Google and Samsung???s top brass and agree to stop wasting everyone???s time and money with all the ???Sue you, sue me??? patent lawsuits and start competing in the market place rather than in the court room.[/i][/ul]That's called "collusion" and would land the lot of them in jail. We can see the headline now: "Largest tech companies had secret agreement to look other way on patent, copyright infringement."
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

      @Robert Hahn - I probably missed your meaning. Cross-licensing agreements are normal, not exceptional, between manufacturers of technical products. As long as the agreements are public and followed established precedent, no legal consequences apply.<br><br>Apple is the unusual player here because their corporate culture causes them to never cross-license anything. Maybe that will change soon?
      SlimSam
      • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

        @SlimSam In addition Apples lawsuits also include trademarks where Motorola, Samsung, etc are only IP.
        global.philosopher
      • There's only one problem with your position

        Apple does license stuff, they even cross-license stuff. And what's more, they've done it more than once! Apparently you never even wanted to know that your assertion was useless.
        ego.sum.stig
    • Collusion?? No! *gasp*

      @Robert Hahn
      [i]That's called "collusion" and would land the lot of them in jail.[/i]

      Our merry ol' muckmeisters wouldn't stoop to that! Even the thought of it! *gasp*<br><br>Here's one of but many examples of variations on the collusion theme:<br>[b]The time Steve Jobs asked Google's Schmidt to stop stealing employees[/b]<br>By Matt Weinberger | January 30, 2012<br><br>You know where to look for more.
      klumper
      • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

        @klumper

        Steve Jobs said many silly things. Just because he said it, doesn't make it real, or legal either.

        Crazy stuff like the "Slavishly Copied" accusations.

        Now the courts all over the world are coming out with the truth and legally binding precedents:

        Apple [b]lost[/b] to Samsung about all the frivolous "design patents" false claims in Germany, Australia, USA, and The Netherlands so far.

        Now comes Motorola with its real (unlike Apple's artsy-fruity) IP...

        You know where to look for more.

        Alas, Steve before his passing away unfortunately was deranged, as he fell for his own Reality Distortion Field bluff!

        Now poor Tim Cook, he has to deal with all the consequences of Steve's [s]follies[/s] madness.

        Good luck in the various world-wide jurisdictions of the Court of Law, and also in the Court of Public Opinion. Apple you will need it.

        [i]~~~~~~~~~~
        The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff.
        ~ Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914, American Author/Editor/Journalist

        Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
        ~ Albert Einstein

        When one person suffers from a delusion It is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion It is called Religion.
        ~ Robert M. Pirsig

        There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
        ~ Oscar Levant
        [/i]
        WinTard
    • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

      @Robert Hahn You should look up the the definition of anti-competitive actions. Agreeing to cut down on trivial lawsuits is not colluding to influence market share and prices.
      The problem though is some lawsuits are valid and only the courts can sort out the wheat from the chaffee so it is the patents system needs an overhaul. Other forms of IP protection are definitely not as grey as patents.
      global.philosopher
  • "Permanent injunction" lacks permanence

    It seems the "permanent injunction" has already been lifted. Some "kick in the teeth" that was.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Apple gets kicked in the teeth by German patent lawsuit decisions

      @Robert Hahn
      You did mean temporary reprieve.
      daikon