German courts have been a frequent battleground for US companies embroiled in messy patent litigations. Samsung has fought off bans and lawsuits from Apple time and again, and countersued the Cupertino company just as often. Motorola Mobility, however, seems to have been a more potent adversary for Apple in its continuing patent wars.
A German court had ruled in favor of Motorola in its bid to deny Apple from allowing iCloud users in Germany to use push email. Now, Apple attempted to overturn that decision at a Mannheim regional court, but to no avail, as the court chose to agree with the earlier decision made to ban iCloud’s push email services.
As a result of losing this case, Apple will not just be forced to offer a stripped down version of a key service like iCloud in Germany, but it’ll also have to pay damages to Motorola Mobility owing to patent infringement.
Apple has created a support page to help out affected users in Germany, essentially conceding that the banned iCloud push email will not function while users are within German borders. The statement there is as follows:
“Due to recent patent litigation by Motorola Mobility, iCloud and MobileMe users are currently unable to have iCloud and MobileMe email pushed to their iOS devices while located within the borders of Germany.Affected customers will still receive iCloud and MobileMe email, but new messages will be downloaded to their devices when the Mail app is opened, or when their device periodically fetches new messages as configured in iOS Settings. Push email service on desktop computers, laptop computers, and the web is unaffected, as is service from other providers such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.Apple believes Motorola’s patent is invalid and is appealing the decision.”
Motorola itself, however, is in the European Commission’s radar for antitrust violations. There have been various allegations made against it by the likes of Apple and Microsoft for FRAND violations, which could prove to be costly, and may have a bearing on the iCloud ban.