We reported yesterday that a court in Germany had granted Apple an injunction against Samsung, which will stop Samsung from importing the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 in to Europe. Apple has been suing a number of other smartphone manufacturers including HTC, Motorola and also Samsung, but now it would appear that they have started suing other tablet manufacturers as well as Samsung, the latest is Motorola over the Motorola Xoom.
According to Foss Patents, at the same time that Apple filed its complaint against Samsung in Germany, it also filed one with the same court against Motorola over the Motorola Xoom. That language says that Apple filed with the same court (district court of Düsseldorf) a complaint over the design of the Motorola Xoom, but it doesn’t state whether that complaint included a request for a preliminary injunction. While it’s not stated explicitly, I suppose that the complaint against Motorola also asks the court for an EU-wide injunction — but perhaps just for a permanent injunction without a previous preliminary one.
The other company that Apple sued in Germany, JAY-tech, was served a preliminary injunction, and according to Apple’s representations, it was upheld by the court “in its entirety” even after a hearing. The complaint doesn’t say on which operating system JAY-tech’s banned tablet was going to run, but Android would be by far and away the most likely option. Getting back to Apple and Motorola, those two companies are suing each other over more than 40 U.S. patents. I produced a “battlemap” along with reference lists in December — you can view it on (and download it from) this Scribd page. That visualization also contains the early part of Apple’s dispute with HTC. I have meanwhile produced a separate visualization of the Apple/HTC/S3 conflict.
Apple’s dispute with Motorola began in October 2010, but so far it was not known that it has also branched out to Europe — just like Apple’s disputes with Samsung and HTC. In the U.S., an ITC hearing was due later this month on Motorola’s complaint against Apple, but due to the retirement of Chief Administrative Law Judge Paul Luckern it was postponed. A new date hasn’t been set yet because the ITC firstly needs to assign the case to a new judge. Apple also has an ITC complaint going against Motorola.
It’s clear that Apple is determined to assert its different intellectual property rights — hardware patents, software patents, and design-related rights — against Android device makers. While Apple appears to place particular emphasis on lawsuits over tablet computers in its European design-related lawsuits, I believe the reason is that a preliminary injunction can’t be requested in Germany if the right holder has been aware of an infringement for too long. There isn’t a clear statutory limit, but German lawyers usually discourage such motions unless they are filed within one month of finding out about an infringement. It’s possible to get permanent injunctions even against older products, but for preliminary ones there must be a particular sense of urgency. It’s possible that Apple has also been aware of the Xoom for too long to file for a preliminary injunction at this stage.
[Geekygadgets Foss patents]