A German appeals court has finally decided to lift the injunction that has prevented Apple from offering push notifications for its iCloud email service in the country. The feature has been disabled for German users since February 2012—so about 18 months.
The injunction spawned from a lawsuit by Motorola Mobility, which as we all know is now owned by Google. The company claims that Apple’s iCloud push notification feature infringes upon its patents, and is seeking both a permanent ban and punitive damages…
“Shortly before finishing the previous post, I called a spokesman for the Oberlandesgericht Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court), who was able to confirm to me officially that this appeals court granted an Apple motion stay the enforcement of the Mannheim Regional Court’s February 2012 injunction.
…In practical terms, this means that German iCloud email users get push notifications back in what I believe is just a matter of days (just a small amount of paperwork). And when all is said and done, the most likely outcome (by far and away) is not going to be that Motorola collects infringement damages from Apple: instead, Apple will (if it prevails on the merits) be able to collect damages from Google’s Motorola for enforcement of an injunction that shouldn’t have been granted in the first place.”
The report goes on to say that as long as Apple posts a bond, it can return the push email feature back to all Germany-based iCloud users in short order. The bond is a requirement meant to secure Motorola’s ability to collect damages in the event it prevails.
But at this point, that doesn’t sound like a likely scenario. Apple has said from the beginning that Motorola’s push notification patent is invalid, and others agree. The patent has been invalidated by three different courts—including the Federal Patent Court of Germany.
It’s actually pretty lame that the injunction has lasted this long, and perhaps more-so that Google has continued to enforce it, knowing it had been invalidated on multiple occasions. It’s odd behavior for a company that speaks out so frequently against patent trolls.