Apple pulls plug on iCloud push email in Motorola patent dispute

Apple has been hit with an injunction against iCloud and MobileMe push email in Germany, after it lost a case against Motorola Mobility over an old pager patent.

Apple said it has suspended push email through iCloud and MobileMe for users in Germany thanks to a Motorola-brought lawsuit, which came into force overnight.

"Due to recent patent litigation by Motorola Mobility, iCloud and MobileMe users are currently unable to have iCloud and MobileMe email pushed to their iOS devices while located within the borders of Germany," the company said on a support page.

But the Cupertino-based giant is playing down the ruling, saying that it "only impacts customers in Germany who use a Push setting to get their MobileMe and iCloud email."

Apple noted that it believes the patent in question is "invalid" and will appeal the decision.

Users with iCloud or MobileMe email push turned on will have to 'fetch' the data manually, or per a timed schedule.

FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller said that it is likely Motorola Mobility sent Apple an enforcement letter to demand compliance with the patent injunction. While the injunction can be appealed, the disruption has already begun, with many taking to old favourite Twitter to complain.

Earlier this month, Motorola won an injunction against iCloud and its predecessor MobileMe after the fruit themed company lost on two counts in a patent dispute in court. The European-held patent was filed in the days of pagers, but it also applies to email-push, according to Motorola and the courts.

In a similar case coincidentally on the same day, it also pulled most of its iPhone and iPad devices from its online stores in Germany, leaving only the iPad 2 Wi-Fi only model on its virtual shelves. Apple was granted a temporary suspension of the injunction, allowing the devices to go back on sale the same day.

Image source: Apple/ZDNet.