Apple is accustomed to being on the winning side of patent infringement suits, but a new ruling in Germany has turned the tables on Cupertino. The court has found that Apple’s iPhone and 3G iPad products infringe a Motorola patent covering the implementation of GPRS mobile technology. This isn’t the first win for Moto, but this one does give it the legal authority to ban sales of the infringing products in Germany.
Strictly speaking, there would not be a sales ban. The injunction, if Motorola pursues it, would only cover new imports of the devices. Apple took great pains to clarify that holiday sales of the iPhone and iPad will be unaffected by the ruling. Of course, Apple will also be appealing the case. Moto also has the option to enforce a $133 million bond against Apple.
The German patent system is a bit less punitive than in other nations. A simple cash exchange is usually enough to smooth things over. Since the technology in question is fundamental to mobile devices, Motorola is barred from making excessive demands for licensing payments.