A German court in Munich today announced that it has sided with Apple in the company's latest patent dispute with Motorola Mobility, which involves slide-to-unlock gestures. Of the three unlock gestures that Motorola uses, two were found to infringe Apple's patent; a third, the slide-the-circle gesture used on Motorola's XOOM tablet, was exempt from the ruling.
The permanent injunction can now be enforced by Apple, at the expense of a large bond that would be set aside and used to pay Motorola for lost sales in the event that the ruling were appealed and overturned. Seeing that Motorola already uses a non-infringing gesture on its XOOM tablets, it is safe to assume that the company will implement the same gesture on its infringing devices, avoiding lost sales and fines. A Motorola spokesperson has confirmed to various news outlets, including PCWorld, that it has already begun to replace the infringing gesture on its smartphones in Germany.
The German ruling is just the latest in an ongoing spat between the two smartphone makers, which has generally fallen in Motorola's favor. In December, a German court ruled in favor of Motorola regarding the company's data packet transfer technology patent. That ruling is currently being appealed by Apple, along with others.
Eyes have remained on German courts due to its small market size and its timely patent dispute process, and while today's ruling is a significant win for Apple, it is not a bellweather for things to come stateside and in other countries. Regardless, it is one of the first rulings, along with the one that forced Samsung to change the appearance of its Galaxy Tab 10.1, that has a direct effect on the user experience of an Android device.
We'll keep our eye on today's injunction as it unfolds, along with other patent disputes between Android licensees and Apple around the world. Hit the source link for a full rundown of today's ruling.
Source: FOSS Patents
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