Apple rides out German sales injunction; Online stores open as usual

A sales injunction against Apple could hamper replenishing stocks of its iPhone and iPad products, as the online stores open up 'as normal' this morning.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

A regional court in Germany has temporarily banned U.S.-headquartered Apple Inc. from marketing or supplying its iPhone smartphones or iPad tablets in the country, following a suit brought by Motorola.

The default judgement was brought against Apple after the company failed to defend itself against Motorola's claims, in a suit that claims the Cupertino-based technology giant violated two patents belonging to Motorola.

(Source: Flickr, CC)

But because the judgement was brought against Apple Inc. and not its local Apple subsidiary, the company is unlikely to see any drop in sales in its regional stores for a while yet.

Having said that, as Apple's online stores appear to be run by Apple Inc., online sales could be restricted in the run up to the European holiday season, and the injunction could hamper efforts to replenish in-store stock.

David Meyer, ZDNet UK's correspondent in Berlin, notes that Apple's German online store continued to sell iPhones and iPads this morning, believed to be the source of the patent infringement allegations.

If Motorola were to push for the judgement to be enforced immediately, Apple could run foul of the injunction, it could be liable for fines of up to €250,000 ($342,000) per violation, and could result in a prison sentence of up to six months for Apple executives.

Though Apple is likely to ask that the injunction is suspended until the company can appeal the court's decision, it does not guarantee a further ruling in its favour, nor does it exclude the company from retrospective fines.

The two patents in question relate to a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system", and the other being a "multiple pager status synchronisation system and method" -- both relating to mobile networking patents of the Motorola devices.

But according to sister site CNET, the injunction served by the court does note a specific Apple product that is affected by the alleged patent infringement.

The German market alone makes up the majority of mobile phone subscribers for the European region, with the continent as Apple's second largest market in net sales during its 2011 fiscal year, second only to its home, the United States.


Editorial standards