Motorola has won a permanent injunction against Apple’s iCloud service and the devices that access it in Germany, though the company must risk a €100m bond and the threat of huge damages if Apple’s likely appeals if it actually wants to enact it today. Motorola Mobility’s case against Ireland-based Apple Sales International – Apple’s European sales branch – was brought in April 2011 and swiftly pushed through a full proceeding, FOSS Patents reports; it potentially encompasses sales in Germany of the iPhone, iPad and other devices.
Although the injunction is a permanent one – as it was the result of a full proceeding with trial, rather than a fast-tracked hearing which would result in a preliminary injunction – it’s what’s known as “preliminary enforceable” at this stage. Motorola can choose to enforce the sales ban, but to do so it must put down the €100m ($133m) bond: if Apple successfully appeals the injunction, which they are almost certainly likely to attempt, then Motorola will not only lose that bond but face whatever damages the appeals court decides are fair.
That sum could stretch well into the multi-millions, and indeed Apple attempted to persuade the court to set the bond amount at €2bn instead. It’s worth noting that the initial bond is only a starter figure, with the potential for the appeals court to settle upon a considerably higher amount should it be decided that Motorola prematurely enforced the injunction.
Whether Motorola – and Google, which still plans to acquire the smartphone company – will decide that risk is worth it remains to be seen. The case revolves around a European patent covering “multiple pager status synchronization system and method” which, Motorola alleges, the iCloud sync and backup system infringes upon; there’s also a US patent equivalent, the importance of will be highlighted depending on Motorola’s decision around enforcement and the decision of the German appeals court.
If Motorola seeks a ban, Apple will face the arduous task of modifying iOS to strip iCloud functionality for devices in Germany, as well as blocking access to German hardware at the server level. The practicalities of this are uncertain.