Motorola Faces German Ban After Apple Patent Victory
Motorola tablets and smartphones could be banned in Germany after Apple’s patent victory
Google-owned Motorola could have to recall its Android tablets and smartphones in Germany after a court ruled that they infringed Apple’s “bounce-back list” patent.
The Munich I Regional Court found that Motorola devices infringed a patent relating to “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display.”
The search giant had been challenging the validity of the patent in Germany as well as in a separate case filed with the European Patent Office.
Apple can now force retailers to remove the Motorola products from shelves if it stumps up the €25 million (£20.1m) bond required and for an additional €10 million it could have them recalled or destroyed.
The two companies have been engaged in numerous patent disputes in the past year, but Google is expected to appeal the latest ruling. Earlier this year, Apple won a slide-to-unlock patent claim against Motorola in the same court.
Analyst Florian Mueller says that it shouldn’t be too difficult for Motorola to roll out a software update that prevents the infringement.
“Motorola doesn’t have to look far for a workaround: stock Android (the version of Android that Google makes available for download) comes with a glow effect instead of the overscroll bounce. Samsung’s current devices also have a blue glow,” said Mueller. “But the glow does not solve the problem that the rubber-banding patent solves: by the time a user notices the glow, he or she has already instinctively pressed harder because of the impression that the device is not responding. This injunction spells further degradation of the Android user experience.”
Mueller added that Motorola’s market share in Germany is so small that the decision is unlikely to affect it in the short term but the decision represents another blow for the Android platform.
“Android has far bigger patent infringement problems than any piece of computer software has ever had in the history of the industry, and this has many of Google’s hardware partners profoundly concerned,” he said.
Last month Apple secured a major victory over arch-rival Samsung when a US court ordered the Korean manufacturer to pay £664 million in damages after it was found to have infringed Apple’s software and design patents.
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