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German court rules in favor of Motorola in patent infringement lawsuit by Apple

July 18, 2012
The world of patents and patent infringement is a complicated one, and the intricacies of these filings are difficult to understand. All we can do is watch and wait for a result that we can comprehend, and that is victory or defeat. Granted, it is not as black and white as “I WIN!! We’re done” with the appeals system, and other numerous infringement lawsuits, which can introduce a whole lot of grey.

I’m sure it’s not surprising to anyone that Apple is involved in over 60% of the patent infringement lawsuits around the world. One such case was a lawsuit Apple filed against Motorola in Germany, in which the Google-owned company was accused of infringing three iPad designs with the Motorola Xoom. In a victory for Motorola, and therefore Google, the judges of the Duesseldorf court, ruled that the Motorola Xoom tablet doesn’t infringe on the iPad.

It always looked like the result was heading in this direction. Back in March during a previous hearing, Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hofmann had said that the evenly bent back and the shaped edges on the front of the Xoom gave the product an individual character. At least this time it isn’t because the device isn’t “cool” enough.

On the downside, a counter-suit from Motorola bringing into question the validity of the iPad’s design patent, was also rejected. A spokesman for the court stated that since both claims were rejected, it ordered both parties to split the costs, albeit unevenly, with Apple required to pay two-thirds and Motorola responsible for the remaining.

I’m sure an appeal of this decision is already in the works, apart from which, Apple is also suing both Motorola and Samsung for a patent infringement related to multi-touch devices, in another German court. Of course, it’s not only Apple that is the root of all these lawsuits, with Android device manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, and Motorola also suing and counter-suing Apple in a seemingly vicious game of ping-pong.

Granted, there are a lot of financial, intellectual, and legal implications and reasons, but these multiple patent infringement lawsuits flying around, at least for the layman, is a black mark in an otherwise amazing world of mobile technology.