The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court this morning ruled that a standard-essential patent injunction that would have forced Apple to remove its iPhones and iPads from store shelves in Germany cannot be enforced during an appeal. The ruling was issued after the court reviewed the licensing terms Apple offered Motorola Mobility for the standards essential patents at issue in the case. Those patents are governed by FRAND (fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) licensing terms and evidently the court felt Apple’s proposal to be reasonable.
“At the current state of the proceedings, … Motorola Mobility would violate its duties under antitrust rules if it continues to ask Apple to stop [iPhone and iPad] sales” the court said in a statement.
In other words, that “maximum per-unit royalty of 2.25 percent” that Morotola has been seeking on every iPhone sale isn’t going to fly in Germany. And if Motorola continues to press for it the company may invite antitrust scrutiny.
For Apple, the ruling, while temporary, is a significant victory, lending credence to its claim that the royalites Motorola is seeking for its standard-essential patents are unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory. For Motorola — and its new owner, Google — it’s a blow that could undermine its legal strategy of seeking injunctive relief based on standard-essential patents. More on that from Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents.
Motorola Mobility did not respond to requests for comment.