Apple received some good news today in Germany in the form of a ruling from the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court stopping Motorola, at least temporarily, from enforcing a previous ban it had received on the sales of iPhone and iPad devices in the country. The device ban was initially handed down by a lower court back in December and caused Apple to remove certain iPhones and 3G-enabled iPads from its German online store for a few hours earlier this month.
Apple's main defense continues to be that Motorola is improperly wielding essential 3G patents in litigation and, consequently, violating its obligations to license these patents under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. In addition to seeking judicial intervention, Apple recently asked the EU Commission to formally investigate Motorola's practice of asserting these standards-essential patents in Europe.
The court's decision points out that Apple has now submitted a licensing proposal to Motorola on these standards patents that "sufficiently addresses Motorola's legitimate interests." We don't know the details of Apple's offer, but it's likely much lower than Motorola's initial demand of up to 2.25 percent of iPhone and iPad device sales. Nevertheless, given Apple's apparent attempts to license these patents, the court held that "it is to be assumed that Motorola would be in breach of its obligations under anti-trust legislation if it continued to demand that Apple does not sell the iPhone and iPad." Those are powerful words, but we'll just have to see how Apple's defense strategy plays out in other courtrooms and government agencies around the world.