Apple and Motorola have apparently started discussing a licensing deal for some of Motorola's standard-essential patents in Germany. FOSS Patents reports that Motorola announced the work-in-progress deal last night, though the two have yet to agree on the price that Apple will pay for licensing. As many of you already know, Motorola and its new parent company Google have taken Apple to court, attempting to get a number of iDevices banned for patent infringement.
This case between Motorola and Apple echoes the recently-ended patent suit between Apple and Samsung. Apple came out on top in that case, and things are looking pretty good for the iPhone maker in Germany now as well. Standard-essential patents must be licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND), so now the two companies are trying to work out those terms. If Motorola and Apple can't agree on a suitable FRAND rate, then the royalty Apple will be paying Motorola will be decided by the German court.
Naturally, this licensing deal only applies to Apple devices sold in Germany, so elsewhere in the world, the legal battle rages on. Motorola might have a difficult time moving forward with its case, as FOSS Patents points out that now Motorola will have to rely on non-standard-essential patents to try to get what it wants out of Apple. In that case, the worst Google and Motorola will probably be able to do is pump up the royalty rate Apple would have to pay.
It's worth pointing out that essential patents don't always stand up well in court. Samsung pointed to several of its essential patents in the trial against Apple, but that strategy didn't work out as the jury found that Apple wasn't infringing on them. Will Motorola and Google get what they want out of this case? That's still hard to call, but with this licensing deal in Germany, it might make it difficult for Motorola to continue on. Stay tuned.