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Two German court rulings call Apple patents into question

Posted: , by Scott H.

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Two German court rulings call Apple patents into question
Apple is having a grand day today in terms of sales, as their new iPad enters retail channels (and likely sells out in minutes). In the legal domain, however, their fortunes have not fared as well. Two rulings in two separate cases today stayed claims by Apple, as both courts found the validity of Apple’s patents to be questionable.

Perhaps most gratifying to frequent readers, Apple’s utility patent for their slide to unlock feature is being put on hold while the German patent office reviews its validity. Apple was trying to assert two different slide to unlock patents against Samsung in Germany; the first was thrown out in early March, so Apple is finally running into a significant headwind over a patent that has clearly demonstrated pre-existing art. While Apple would be able to continue to sue over the utility patent if the review comes back in their favor, Judge Andreas Voss indicated that the court is concerned about the validity of all aspects of the patent, especially in its scope.

That’s probably cold comfort to Motorola, who actually lost in a different German court to one of Apple’s slide to unlock patents just a few weeks ago. Motorola has vowed to appeal it, but in the mean time they received some better news in another German court case – as we reported earlier, Apple was suing to ban the Motorola Gleam, a flip-phone sold in Europe, based on a patent on computing devices that have glowing parts in their housing. Yes, really.

The court found that yes, the Motorola Gleam sure does have glowy-bits on the outside, so it infringes on the patent, but the judge refused to allow an injunction against the device, siting “serious doubt about the validity of the patent”. In particular, Motorola’s lawyers appear to have made a convincing case that Sony-Ericsson filed a prior-art patent in 1997, five years before Apple’s 2002 patent filing.

Apple apparently has yet another case remaining to be ruled on today, so they have a chance to salvage a 1 for 3 win ratio. And if not, they can probably take comfort in the way the new iPad is basically printing money for them faster than they can count.

source: FOSS Patents, 1, 2

20 Comments
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posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:06 11

1. VinCrel (Posts: 39; Member since: 26 Dec 2011)


Personally, not a hater, and fairly new in this Apple-sueing-somebody thing. But isn't it just a bit stupid to sue other people just because they have glow-in-the-dark stickers on their phones?
Just saying..

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:29 6

4. danwatson (Posts: 102; Member since: 03 Jan 2012)


Not if your purpose is to 'kill android' as Steve Jobs said. The patent is ridiculous. But Apple has tons of money with virtually nothing to do with it so they are trying to use it to destroy manufactures with less money to fight these battles.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:30 7

5. ph00ny (Posts: 598; Member since: 26 May 2011)


lot of these aren't even full blown patents to begin with. Some are based on community design submission which doesn't have a review process. You submit with valid information and it gets approved

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 23:43

14. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


haha, you tell me.. idiotic right? especially if it comes out from the world's most valuable company..

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:09 12

2. andro. (Posts: 1949; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Seeing as most of apples pointless patents try to prevent other manufacturers from making devices which are for example 'rectangular' and 'black' its good to see courts finally dismissing them

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:19 7

3. rnk.khch (Posts: 86; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)


They were the ones who started all this suing thing, and now they are facing the consequences of that!

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:42 6

6. Mandroid (Posts: 209; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


Awesome.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 12:49 8

7. k1ng617 (Posts: 246; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)


Honestly, all responsibility should fall on the the patent seeker to clearly identify why their patent is distinctly unique and of value before it even goes up for review. This whole vague/generic crapola that e.g. glowing bits is complete bull

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 13:33 5

8. tbar (Posts: 34; Member since: 18 Jan 2010)


Not only that, when they bring these ridiculous suits and lose they should have to pay all legal costs of all parties plus substantial penalties.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 13:34 5

9. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


Take that cr(No Space)Apple! Damn, PhoneArena is Banning that word!

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 14:04 3

11. iHateCrapple (Posts: 734; Member since: 12 Feb 2010)


What word...lol

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 06:50 2

15. adi4u4882 (Posts: 135; Member since: 10 Jan 2012)


The word after iHate from your User Name :P

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 16:44 2

13. Mandroid (Posts: 209; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


Don't you mean.....wait for it.....iPhoneArena?

posted on 19 Mar 2012, 05:18

18. jacko1977 (Posts: 388; Member since: 11 Feb 2012)


u put apple then after u edit and it lets u put the cr in front

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 13:53 5

10. jmoita2 (Posts: 930; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Eat it,Apple!!! Now,I would laugh my ass off to see the massive panic at Apple were Samsung to stop providing Apple with the components they depend on so dearly to build the iPad...
A little Quid Pro Quo is in order here.

posted on 16 Mar 2012, 15:30 4

12. rhinoceros (Posts: 33; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)


Phone arena loves apple big time

posted on 17 Mar 2012, 11:20 1

16. A.aoudi (Posts: 125; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)


Looks like the judges are using droids now.

posted on 18 Mar 2012, 17:15

17. chadrick0814 (Posts: 208; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


Based on market share, thats probably accurate.

posted on 19 Mar 2012, 06:44

19. MotorolaAndroidIndonesia (Posts: 24; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Final ITC ruling affirms Motorola Mobility didn't violate Apple's patents
http://www.usitc.gov/secretary/fed_reg_notices/337/337_750_notice03162012sgl_1.pdf

posted on 19 Mar 2012, 06:46

20. MotorolaAndroidIndonesia (Posts: 24; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


German appeals court lets Motorola to continue push notification patent against Apple
http://www.tuaw.com/2012/03/16/german-appeals-court-lets-motorola-to-continue-push-notification/

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