Another chapter in Apple’s seemingly endless patent wars appears to be over as a German court has dismissed a suit brought against the company by Motorola. In December the court issued a ruling that several of Apple’s 3G-capable devices infringed on patents owned by Motorola. Last week Motorola began enforcing the ruling, prompting Apple to pull the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and 3G-capable iPad 2 from their online store in Germany. Apple appealed however, on the grounds that Motorola had consistently refused to license the relevant patent on Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms, as required by European Union rules. The court in Mannheim overturned the injuction, allowing Apple to put its devices back up for sale.
Today the court ruled that Apple’s devices do not, in fact, infringe on Motorola’s 3G patents at all, and dismissed the case. According to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, Motorola’s claim centered on the relevant patent being industry essential, rather than on demonstrating that Apple had actually infringed the patent itself. Judge Voss of the Mannheim court did not agree that the patent was essential, and ruled that Apple had not violated Motorola’s specific patent, and so dismissed the case.
This is not a total victory for Apple however. Motorola also won an injunction last week concerning push notifications for Apple’s iCloud service. As that is a separate case, the injunction still stands and Apple must continue to move forward with the modifications to iCloud in Germany.