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February 03, 2012

Motorola's Latest Lawsuit is a Sign of Things to Come in the Battle for Mobile Superiority
By Nick McDonald
Contributing Writer

Early Friday morning, a German judge ruled in favor of Motorola (News - Alert) Mobility in its fight against Apple, barring the company from using its iCloud and push email service in the country. According to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, the suit brought against Apple (News - Alert) is directed at Apple Sales International, the conglomerate’s European sales organization based in Ireland. However, the suit was not Europe-wide and the ruling only applies to the German Market.

According to the ruling, Motorola must first post a $100 million Euro bond to seek its enforcement. Since it is likely Motorola will pay up, Apple has already pulled several iPhone (News - Alert) and iPad models from its online store in Germany. As Apple prepares its German market for the worse, it is not planning to take this ruling lying down:

"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."

The court injunction in Germany is the latest in a line of disputes between Apple and Motorola, which is currently being bought by Apple’s largest rival, Google (News - Alert).  It is likely that Google’s influence will play a key role in Motorola’s decision to enforce the German court’s ruling and to continue its latest lawsuit against Apple here in the U.S. over the iPhone 4S device and Apple’s iCloud services. If the Google backed Motorola wins here in the states, it could result in a ban of Apple iPhone and iCloud services in this country altogether! If you were thinking Google would not go that far, you are wrong. Apple will most likely see no mercy on either of these issues as its 2011 lawsuit against Google affiliate HTC, resulted in a ban of all HTC (News - Alert) phones and products from being sold here in the U.S. market.

As the smartphone platform wars heat up, it is bound to be a legally sticky situation. Apple and Google both have valid claims that the other has stolen patented ideas and intellectual property or that the other is preventing fair competition within the industry, making a direct clash between the two sides inevitable. And, if their previous interactions are telling of anything, it is that a messy legal battle is unavoidable. The real question is what effect will it have on the mobile industry and its customers.

A recent graduate from the University of Oregon, Nick aspires to build a career in the digital world with a focus on technology, sports, and online media.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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