What Apple patent win over Motorola means
Filed under: Mobile
So what will it mean for you and your phone?
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Ongoing battleThis is the latest in a series of legal fights over a wide variety of issues. Apple is also in the midst of action in Germany regarding unlocking features of Samsung phones. Meanwhile it has been battling Motorola about functions embedded within the phones, and is said to have called on the European Commission to intervene. It is safe to say, therefore, that this won't be the last of these fights.
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The rulingAccording to The Guardian, the court ruling was very specific. Making an Apple handset active involves sliding an icon along the front of the phone. It has been used by Apple since the iPhone was launched, and is patented. The court decided that two Motorola devices infringed the patent, because they are unlocked by sliding a padlock across the screen. The ruling affects phones sold in Germany.
Implications?On the one hand this is a very specific judgment. It's worth bearing in mind that the court found that another piece of tech, the Motorola Xoom tablet, hadn't infringed the patent, because it is unlocked by moving a padlock icon out of a circle.
In addition, Motorola told the Guardian: "Today's ruling in the patent litigation brought by Apple in Munich, Germany, concerns a software feature related to phone unlocking in select Motorola devices sold in Germany. Motorola has implemented a new design for the feature. Therefore, we expect no impact on current supply or future sales."
These judgments are also country-specific, so would never have affected the legality of selling devices in the UK. The companies pick this jurisdiction for their battles because decisions are made more quickly here than elsewhere, and it is hoping that a decision here will force a worldwide change without going through battles in every country where the phones are sold.
So what does it mean for you?There's no immediate affect on the consumer. You can continue using your handset, even if it is one of those specifically mentioned in the case.
The bigger implication is for the companies. As we have seen in the past, one judgment will do little to alter the ongoing battle.The companies are locked in expensive legal arguments over so many things that it will take a whole series of judgments, appeals, and further judgments before we can consider this case to be closed.
In the interim we can continue to expect the expensive infighting to continue, with the price of the product reflecting the amount they are having to spend in court fees.