An LDS antenna from a Palm Pre

A court in Germany has ordered Motorola to stop selling phones in Germany that infringe on an antenna design patent. The patent, held by German laser engineering firm LPKF, covers what's called "Laser Direct Structuring", which is the process used by many smartphone manufacturers to lay down an antenna design on a curved plastic surface. It's a process used in several Motorola devices, including the Moto G and Moto X.

Moto Maker for the Moto X just last week expanded to Germany, so the preliminary ruling from the Mannheim Regional Court against both Motorola Deutschland and Motorola Mobility USA comes as a blow, though we have no doubt that Motorola is mounting an appeal. The court also ordered Motorola Deutschland to recall phones that infringe on the patent.

LPKF states that their patent on laser direct structuring was declared invalid in China last year, though the Chinese Supreme People's Court has agreed to reopen the patent case for them. In the meantime, "LPKF is systematically taking action against cell phone manufacturers that bring counterfeit LDS components into circulation outside China."

Update: Motorola has chimed in with a brief comment:

"While we are disappointed in the decision, Motorola has taken steps to avoid any interruption in supply."

Source: LPKF; Via: Reuters

There are 27 comments

Zig261 says:

That's a bummer.
But then again was Moto even selling well in Germany to begin with?

This shouldn't be too bad of a hit until they fix the antenna problem.
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leif1981 says:

The Moto G is pretty popular and selling well, the Moto X was too late.

mwara244 says:

No Moto X and G for You! Patent Nazi's

Seriously, now people patent the way hardware is made??

I'm going to the Patent office and filing a Patent for screwing things to the right to tighten them. /s

Chahk says:

There is no "antenna problem". Just a case of yet another patent troll trying to cash in. Also, wasn't Motorola's own patents in the specific area of cellular hardware declared FRAND in recent legal splat with Apple?

travaz says:

+10000 Freaking Lawyers!!!!

Deke218 says:

...wondering if I can get a patent on what I call In-Out Breathing. In it's basic understanding, a person [my patent would include both males and females] would breath what is call in legal terms. "Air" In and Out of what is called the Nose.

I'm not sure if breathing and laser structuring antennas onto a curved plastic surface are quite the same thing.

eahinrichsen says:

I think Apple has a patent on "air." You'd be better off with something more general like "gaseous, life-sustaining substance."

My brand management consulting fee is $500.

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techitrucker says:

That's very close to my existing patent for breathing in and out through the mouth. My lawyer will contact yours to negotiate cross licensing.....
Armadillo, the other white meat.

rcgaryk says:

Derek had to have chosen that image.... sure looks like a Palm Pre!

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It was that or disassemble my Moto X...

Made me do a double take. Wondered how far along the comments would get before someone realized that it was a Pre.... I should bust mine out, boot it up and come back in a month to tinker...

plunder says:

Don't take your Moto X to IFA. They might take it away from you.

fubka says:

Oh it is a Palm Pre!

D13H4RD2L1V3 says:


Lantesh says:

Yet another example of a stupid patent. It boggles my mind how some patents are ever granted in the first place. The fact that the antenna is curved over the plastic instead of flat does not constitute a new invention.

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It's the process of applying the antenna with lasers that's patented. You can go back to a pull-out extension antenna if you so desire.

npco543 says:

The problem is that every step in the process not only existed BEFORE it was ever used to affix antenna to curved plastic surfaces, but had been used precisely to accomplish each step individually. The process in question simply involves using lasers to finely etch a pattern into a plastic piece which is then plated with various metals - the metals naturally only affixing to the etched surfaces.

Neither laser etching nor metal plating are new. The only thing that was new was using the two to produce a specific result. Patenting such a process is akin to patenting the use of a spoon to open a paint can, and then demanding money from anyone who subsequently replicates the absurdly obvious process.

This is likely the exact reason the patent was invalidated in China, and will be anywhere else it's validity is investigated.

This is a perfect example of patent trolling, and it's rather sad to see people so quick to defend it.

Lantesh says:

Exactly. You stated that perfectly.

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udazavlanje says:


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zr2s10 says:

If it actually gave me back the ability to make a call, and not have it dropped, I would LOVE to go back to a pull out extension antenna. if I wasn't such an internet addict, I would go back to "feature" phones, since I have yet to get decent reception on a smart "phone". And yes, I know where I placed my quotation marks.

fubka says:

The photo is from a Palm Pre. Thanks for the memories Derek!

travaz says:

Let me ask this question. If I wanted to make a new brand of Android Smartphone is there anyway I could design, build and sell a device that would not inpose an any patents?
First step is the hiring of Lawyers.

fightcrazy says:

Gluing the antena to a curved surface has to have a legal patent?? What a crock of shit. This industry is nothing but sue happy bull shit. Everyone is looking for the easy buck. If I was in this business I would be put in jail, I would probably walk into someone's office and kick the dog shit out of someone. Gluing a antenna onto a curved plastic surface is illegal because someone received a patent for something as stupid as that. Talk about complete bull shit.

plunder says:

Apparently someone in Australia recently took out a patent on all forms of wheel, including gears. It was granted. The international patent system has become unworkable; it's time for a major reform or the scrapheap.

Xenx says:

What definition of recent are we going with here? It was 13 years ago.

Executor32 says:

Compared to the actual invention of the wheel, that's pretty damn recent.