The international patent wars seemed to have gotten far hotter for a moment this evening, as FOSS Patents reported that Motorola Mobility had won a German injunction against Apple that could theoretically prevent the company from selling its various products. Apple's since confirmed the report with a brief statement, but unfortunately for those of us who love late-night legal fireworks, a little more digging reveals the situation isn't at all what it first appears.
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 confirmed to us that it'll appeal the decision anyway, and that the Apple Germany case continues to move forward. And here you thought you were going to spend yet another thrilling Friday night examining German court documents.
Apple's official statement:
This is a procedural issue that has nothing to do with the merits of the case. This does not affect our ability to sell products or do business in Germany at this time.
And Motorola's official statement:
As media and mobility continue to converge, Motorola Mobility's patented technologies are increasingly important for innovation within the wireless and communications industries, for which Motorola Mobility has developed an industry leading intellectual property portfolio. We will continue to assert ourselves in the protection of these assets, while also ensuring that our technologies are widely available to end-users. We hope that we are able to resolve this matter, so we can focus on creating great innovations that benefit the industry.