Google's patent attack on Microsoft push mail trips up in Germany

The Motorola Mobility patent that also blocked push mail sync in Apple's iCloud in Germany is now finding itself on shaky ground.

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A German patent suit brought by Motorola Mobility which aimed to block Microsoft push mail has been suspended over doubts about the patent's validity.

The patent at issue is EP 0847 654, which covers "multiple pager status synchronization system and method", and was granted in 2002.

Motorola, under Google's ownership, used it to gain an injunction on the push messaging feature in Apple's iCloud syncing service, which Apple deactivated for German users last February.

Germany's regional Mannheim court suspended Motorola's claim while it waits for a decision from German Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht) on a separate Microsoft claim, which seeks to annul the German component of the patent, court spokesperson Dr Joachim Bock told ZDNet.

Though Motorola succeeded in its case with Apple using the same patent, its claim against Microsoft faces several more challenges, including because Motorola "owes" Microsoft licensing rights due to fact Google has licensed ActiveSync from Microsoft, according to patents expert Florian Mueller.

It's not the first time the patent has run in to difficulties: last December a UK High Court judge ruled that the Motorola patent in question was invalid. 

Apple is also challenging the Motorola patent in the Federal Patent Court and it's thought that the injunction will soon be lifted, according to Mueller.