Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a website called Apple .de. And on this website, in historical Deutschland, there lived three iPhones and an iPad. They were a happy bunch: some wise but slow with old age, others quick and lean, but they all had one tragic flaw in common.
According to a court in Germany, all four of them are infringing on Motorola patents related to embedded 3G/UMTS wireless technology, FRAND standards essential patents to be specific. This means that the technology within the patents is now a standard across the industry, and the company that owns said technology is required to license it to competitors under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms.
That said, the Mannheim Regional Court has enforced a permanent injunction on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and the iPad 2 3G. Luckily for German fanbois, the ban only affects Apple’s online presence. Customers can still purchase all four products in various retail locations, including Apple brick-and-mortar stores.
This all comes back to a ruling in December, where the Mannheim court issued a preliminary injunction against Apple’s infringing products.
German: “Derzeit nicht verfügbar”
English: “Not currently available.”
You may notice one wireless Apple device — the one that speaks — missing from the list. That’s likely because the iPhone 4S uses a Qualcomm chip as opposed to an Infineon/Intel chip. FOSS Patents suggests that Moto and Qualcomm have a licensing deal already in place, which would mean that Apple is covered by extension with regards to the 4S.
In other Apple/Motorola/Germany-related news, Moto also won a permanent injunction today against Apple’s iCloud push email feature. This means Apple customers in Germany will likely be forced to revert back to the old method of push email, rather than using iCloud.
Update: According to AllThingsD, Apple will have its banned products back online and available on its German site very soon. Apple was in the midst of appealing the ruling while it was removing the products from its online storefront, and the appeal has won the Cupertino-based company a suspension of the injunction.
Here’s the official statement from Apple:
Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.