Two German court rulings call Apple patents into question

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



1. VinCrel

Posts: 39; Member since: Dec 26, 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..

4. danwatson

Posts: 117; Member since: Jan 03, 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.

5. ph00ny

Posts: 2051; Member since: May 26, 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

14. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

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

2. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 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

3. rnk.khch

Posts: 86; Member since: Jan 30, 2012

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

6. Mandroid

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 22, 2012


7. k1ng617

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 13, 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

8. tbar

Posts: 34; Member since: Jan 18, 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.

9. adi4u4882

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

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

11. iHateCrapple

Posts: 734; Member since: Feb 12, 2010


15. adi4u4882

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 10, 2012

The word after iHate from your User Name :P

13. Mandroid

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

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

18. jacko1977

Posts: 428; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

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

10. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 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.

12. rhinoceros

Posts: 33; Member since: Mar 01, 2012

Phone arena loves apple big time

16. A.aoudi

Posts: 125; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

Looks like the judges are using droids now.

17. chadrick0814 unregistered

Based on market share, thats probably accurate.

19. MotorolaAndroidIndonesia

Posts: 24; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Final ITC ruling affirms Motorola Mobility didn't violate Apple's patents

20. MotorolaAndroidIndonesia

Posts: 24; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

German appeals court lets Motorola to continue push notification patent against Apple

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