Motorola Mobility Wins Injunction Against Apple in Germany

Patents were once used to protect a company’s inventions. But in recent years it seems like they’re more frequently used as ammunition for expensive courtroom battles. Perhaps no other company is more familiar with this than Apple.

The iPhone makers have been involved in dozens of patent disputes over the last decade, most notably its recent bouts with Android partners. In fact, the Cupertino company has been on a win-streak against Google’s manufacturers, until now…

Motorola Mobility has apparently won an injunction against Apple in an ongoing lawsuit with the company over patent infringement. The handset maker believes that Apple has been willingly infringing on its intellectual property for several years.

Florian Mueller of FOSSPatents sounded the alarm yesterday afternoon, claiming that he had received a copy of a judgement by the Mannheim Regional Court barring Apple from selling its products in Germany. But the ruling isn’t what it seems.

The Verge‘s Niley Patel explains the situation:

“Apple is represented by two organizations in Germany: Apple Inc., the worldwide corporate parent, and Apple Germany, the local subsidiary that actually sells products to consumers. Motorola Mobility filed lawsuits against both organizations, and while Apple Germany is vigorously fighting its case, Apple’s lawyers let the Apple Inc., lawsuit slide, resulting in this default judgement and injunction. But since Apple Inc., doesn’t actually sell anything in Germany, it’s a totally symbolic victory for Motorola — there aren’t any products to ban.”

Apple confirms Patel’s analysis with an official statement:

“This is a procedural issue that has nothing to do with the merits of this case. This does not affect our ability to sell products or do business in Germany at this time.”

So it appears the win doesn’t mean much in the way of disabling Apple from selling its products. But anytime a judge makes a decision like this it can affect rulings in the future. It’ll be interesting to see how this Motorola Mobility lawsuit plays out.