Motorola smartphones face sales ban in a major EU market thanks to a patent lawsuit

The Motorola Edge (2022) booting up showing the Motorola logo

What you need to know

  • Lenovo and Motorola are facing a sales ban in Germany for devices with WWAN modules due to patent infringement.
  • The ban came after a Munich court ruled in favor of InterDigital, which claims Lenovo infringed on its WWAN patents.
  • The ban affects Motorola phones, including the Edge 50 series, and some Lenovo laptops, but not earbuds and chargers.

Lenovo and its subsidiary Motorola are in hot water in Germany after a court banned sales of their devices with modules that are key for mobile internet.

The sales ban in Germany comes after Lenovo was found guilty of infringing on InterDigital's patents for Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) modules. In early May, InterDigital won an injunction against Lenovo, and on May 8, a Munich court enforced the sales ban after InterDigital posted a four million euro security deposit, as per a WirtschaftsWoche report (via GSMArena).

Consequently, Motorola pulled all its smartphones from its German website after the court ruling. Apparently, the ban hits any Motorola phone, including the new Motorola Edge 50 series, along with some Lenovo laptops that use WWAN. The company's earbuds and chargers are still good to go, though.

Speaking of Lenovo laptops, the company's website says some models with internet connectivity won't be restocked once they sell out.

Android Central has reached out to Lenovo for a statement and will update the article soon. Meanwhile, Lenovo told T3 that it disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal.

The patent dispute is over a special kind of technology that's supposed to be available to everyone for a fair price. Basically, the company that owns it (InterDigital) can't charge an arm and a leg for it. However, Lenovo might not be happy with the price InterDigital is asking.

On the other hand, the court thinks Lenovo isn't being fair with InterDigital about the licensing terms. Lenovo argues that InterDigital is asking for way too much money, but the court disagrees.

For now, third-party retailers can still sell Motorola phones and Lenovo laptops until their current stock runs out. After that, they'll have to wait for the patent dispute to be settled before they can restock and continue sales.

This isn't the first time phone companies have gotten into trouble over patents in Europe. A couple of years ago, OPPO and OnePlus phones were pulled from several EU countries after a legal battle with Nokia. They eventually worked things out, so hopefully that's what happens here too.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.