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Motorola Beats Apple in 3G Patent Case in Germany, Rest of Europe to Follow?

by Adriana Lee | December 9, 2011December 9, 2011 8:00 pm PDT

When it comes to lawsuits in the mobile tech industry, keeping track of who’s doing what can be kind of flummoxing. It’s like you need a scorecard or something, no? Apple sues HTC. So HTC sues right back. Apple tries to block Galaxy Tab sales in Germany, but fails. The company does win against Samsung, however, and is allowed to sell the iPhone 4S in France. Meanwhile, back in Deutschland, Motorola succeeds in getting a preliminary injunction against sales of iPhones and iPads in the country.

Confused yet? Well, that’s not even scratching the surface — there are other cases in the U.S., not to mention other parts of Europe as well as Australia. But let’s keep it simple and focus on that last bit: Turns out, Moto’s tactic has just put yet another win under its belt. Although it looked like its acquisition by Google could’ve become a sticky affair in its legal dealings, it didn’t — in fact, the Droid maker succeeded in winning its 3G patent case against Apple in Germany.

What kicked up the dust storm here has to do with a patent regarding some core cellular technology. According to the court doc, a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system.”

The reason this is so attention-getting is two-fold: First, there’s the sheer scope of this. The decision would presumably affect all 3G Apple devices released before the iPhone 4S (and that’s likely only because the case was filed in April, before the 4S launched). Second, it could open the floodgate, leading to injunctions all over Europe.

Given the huge ramifications of this decision, there’s no way Apple will take this lying down. I’d wager that Cupertino is gathering its legal forces and gearing up for the mother of all appeals. If it loses, the company would have to get rid of the impinging tech from its devices, or cough up some big licensing fees. And it would most likely have to pay some mind-blowing amount for past infringement.

One thing’s for sure: The last chapter of this story hasn’t been written yet. So stay tuned for more as we know it.

Any patent geeks want to weigh in on this development? Please share your thoughts below (or for more technical clarification, hit up the source link at Foss).

[via Gizmodo, Foss]


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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