Apple removes 3G iPhone and iPad devices from German online store

Apple has been forced to remove almost all 3G-enabled iPhones and iPads from its online store in Germany, including the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 WiFi + 3G, but NOT including iPhone 4S due to an injunction won by Motorola Mobility. Foss Patents reports:

The leading German news agency, dpa (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), quotes an official Apple statement according to which the company has just removed, as a result of an injunction Motorola won in Mannheim over a FRAND-pledged patents declared essential to an industry standard, several 3G/UMTS-capable products from its German online store: the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, and the iPhone 4 (but not the iPhone 4S), and all 3G/UMTS-capable iPads.

This all stems from Motorola's December win around a FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) patent pertaining to 3G/UMTS standards. In addition, iCloud users in Germany will no longer have access to push mail over iCloud MobileMe, and will instead need to rely on manually pulling email messages from Apple's servers.

The iPhone 4S was not included because of the difference in the 3G chip configuration. Also, all of the effected units will still be sold through local retailers, including official Apple Stores.

The EU, however, is taking an interest in cases like this, where FRAND patents may or may not be being misused.

The enforcement of a FRAND-pledged standards-essential patent is a major issue. The European Commission is already investigating Samsung because it also "sought injunctive relief" (though unsuccessfully to date) based on such patents. Motorola could be investigated over the same issue, but since the EU is also reviewing Google's proposed acquisition of MMI, it presumably prefers to focus on the merger review, at least for the time being.

Like the injunctions Apple has won and lost against Samsung, this is far from over.

Source: FOSS Patents


SlashGear reports the injunction has been suspended, and all effected products are once again available on Apple's online store.

”All iPad and iPhone models will be back on sale through Apple’s online store in Germany shortly” the company told us in a statement. “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.”

iCloud is still unavailable in Germany, however, as the suspended injunction in question only pertains to the 3G/UMTS patents involved.

Source: SlashGear