Apple Gets Injunction Against MMI in Germany
Apple can enforce the injunction after posting a bond lest MMI succeed in invalidating the slide-to-unlock patent
By: Maureen O'Gara
Feb. 17, 2012 07:00 AM
A Munich court Thursday found Motorola Mobility guilty of infringing an Apple patent and handed Apple a permanent injunction against two Android smartphones.
Apple can enforce the injunction after posting a bond lest MMI succeed in invalidating the slide-to-unlock patent (EP1964022) that opens a device with a gesture on an unlock image.
Patent watcher Florian Mueller, who was in court for the trial in December and again on Thursday when the decision came down, apparently expected the court to stay its hand pending a decision on the patent's validity but evidently Apple's post-trial pleadings persuaded Judge Peter Guntz that the patent would ultimately stand.
Guntz only upheld Apple's complaints against MMI's phones, not its complaint against MMI's Xoom tablet.
Florian assumes MMI will appeal and that Apple will press its Xoom complaint but says "even with the current scope, this is largely a win for Apple that will result in a noticeable degradation of the user experience of Motorola's products."
"Today's ruling," he said, "is significant bad news for Android at large, and Google."
He assumes that Google intended for MMI to carve out a bigger piece of the German market, where its current business is relatively small.
A decision from the Munich court on another Apple patent complaint against MMI is now due in two weeks.
Apple is also asserting the slide-to-unlock patent against Samsung in another German court and using a US version of the IP in seeking a preliminary injunction against Samsung phones from a California court.
While at court Thursday Florian discovered an unheralded case of Microsoft charging MMI's Android devices with infringing its patent on a "soft input panel system and method" and attended the preliminary first hearing.
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