Thursday, September 13, 2012

German Court Says Motorola Mobility Infringed on Apple's Rubber Band Patent

Just one day after announcing the iPhone 5, Apple scored a major victory in Germany today when the regional Munich court agreed that Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) infringed on Apple's "rubber band" or "overscroll" patent. The "rubber band" functionality is something Apple and Android users are probably quite familiar with: it's that "bounce back" you see when you scroll down past the boundary on web pages, documents or photos on a touchscreen device. The ruling affects Adroid OS smartphones and tablets sold in Germany, including the Motorola Milestone XT720, the Motorola DEFY, the Motorola Atrix and Motorola XOOM.

Because of the ruling, Motorola is not allowed to utilize the patent in Germany. This effectively results in a ban in sales on all the devices that use the patent. Apple has also requested a recall of all the effected devices so that they can be destroyed to prevent them from ever being sold.

The decision is not yet final, though, and Motorola has an opportunity to appeal. The ruling today was a preliminary injunction, but Apple must pay a 25 million euros bond (about 32 million USD) to enforce it. Another option for Motorola would be to simply change the software they're using (like Samsung did last year to avoid a similar situation) and no longer use that patented technology.

This is the third time this year that Apple has won a patent-infringement case against Motorola in Germany; they won one over the slide-to-unlock patent and another over the photo gallery page-flipping patent. With these cases and the recent billion dollar Samsung verdict here in the US, it is clear that Apple is ready and willing to fight for their patent rights wherever necessary.