German court orders Android product recall
Another blow for Google
Motorola Mobility has been ordered by a court in Munich to recall its smartphones and tablets that infringe an Apple patent.
The ruling yesterday focused on the ‘overscroll bounce’ or ‘rubber band’ touchscreen patent, found on Motorola devices including the Atrix, DEFY and XOOM tablet (pictured).
Judge Peter Guntz found in favour of Apple, and granted them the right to request a sales ban on specific products, a recall of the products already sold, and for infringing devices to be destroyed. However, implementing these decisions will cost Apple a €25m (£20m) bond, while there is still time for Motorola Mobility to appeal.
The German court’s decision is another blow for Google, which acquired Motorola Mobility last year for £7.7bn. Furthermore, the Motorola devices that may be recalled use Google’s Android operating system; combined with the potential effects of the Apple v Samsung lawsuit, Android could see a dramatic dent in its market share, and Google could end up paying out billions in damages.
Although Germany is not a major market for Apple, Reuters reports that “Germany has become a major battleground in the global patent war between makers of mobile phones, tablet computer devices and their operating software, as court actions there have proved to be relatively cheap and speedier than in other jurisdictions.”
Indeed, it was in Germany that Samsung’s Galaxy 7.7 and 10.1 were first banned, before the rest of the EU and the US followed suit. Motorola has also made use of Germany’s swift justice system, accusing Microsoft of infringing several patents in May 2012.
Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: “The concern for Google is of course that they will now be challenged in other countries, and that other manufacturers using Android will face similar problems. There’s also the question of replacing any devices that are recalled – many smartphone owners will surely be unhappy with the decision, and will expect Motorola to provide a replacement device or a refund.”