I’m sure Apple’s legal department always enjoys a day that starts with a sales injunction. Earlier today Motorola Mobility was granted just such a one over G/UMTS patents that resulted in Apple having to pull their 3G-enabled devices, such as the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 WiFi + 3G (the iPhone 4S is excluded due to the use of a different baseband chip), from being available for sale from their online store in Germany.
It didn’t take long for Apple to receive a suspension of that injunction, allowing them to place their devices back up for sale and return to business as usual.
To enact this sales injunction (which is the enforcement of a court ruling from late 2011 that ended in Motorola’s favor), the company had to put up almost $131 million US dollars, which they did. The strange part is that the only sales that were stopped were those generated from the online store. All units found in retail locations were exempt from this ban.
The official statement given by Apple on the matter states:
“While some iPad and iPhone models are not available through Apple’s online store in Germany right now, customers should have no problem finding them at one of our retail stores or an authorized reseller. Apple is appealing this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.”
Motorola needs to be cautious so as to not be seen as violating FRAND rules (something Samsung is also under investigation for doing) as they are actually now obligated to be “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” and license their patent as it has been identified as necessary to 3G/UMTS standards.
Most feel that Apple will appeal this court decision stating that they are entitled to a compulsory FRAND license from Motorola and that the penalties for their current violation should be minimal.