Apple Fails To Overturn iCloud Notification Ban In Germany

Mannheim regional court orders Apple to pay damages to Motorola Mobility

Apple has lost its court appeal to restore push notifications for users of iCloud and MobileMe in Germany.

A judge at the Mannheim regional court upheld a decision passed in February in which Motorola Mobility succeeded in blocking the feature for infringement of one of its patents. Dow Jones Newswires reports that the judge also ordered Apple to pay damages, though the sum was not specified.

Patent war grinds on

The patent in dispute involved a “multiple pager status synchronization system and method”, which Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents notes is a patent which is not “standard essential”, ie not required by any communications standards, so Motorola is within its rights setting its own royalty levels and requiring payment.

Motorola landed a permanent injunction against the feature in iCloud and MobileMe in early February, though as it was only ‘preliminarily enforceable’ a €100 million (£83m) bond would have been required to act upon the decision.

On 23 February, Apple disabled push notifications on the applications as a result of the permanent injunction.

“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,” Apple said in a post. The company’s appeal, based on an assertion that Motorola’s patent claim was invalid, was today proven to be baseless according to the German court’s judgement.

As noted at the time, this reduction of service, albeit minor, represented the first time Apple customers were directly affected by the patent battles around the world.

Matters in Germany are not yet resolved between Apple and Motorola however, as the Mannheim judge said a decision on mobile communications standards, supposedly involving standard-essential patents, would be determined at a later date.

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