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German Court Sides With Motorola Against Apple

(CN) - A German court's preliminary injunction may block Apple from selling mobile devices in the country amid claims that the products infringe on two Motorola wireless technology patents.

The Mannheim Regional Court granted default judgment to Motorola on Friday after Apple failed to appear in court.

The two European patents at issue cover a "method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system" and "multiple pager status synchronization system and method." Motorola holds corresponding U.S. patents on the technology as well.

Though the injunction did not mention any Apple products by name, the iPad and iPhone are likely to be affected. Failure to respect the judgment could result in a 250,000 euro fine.

"This is a procedural issue and has nothing to do with the merits of the case. It does not affect our ability to sell products in Germany at this time," an Apple spokesman told tech blog PC World.

Florian Mueller, a prominent European patent blogger, speculated that Apple's failure to appear may have been a strategy known as "Flucht in die Saumnis," meaning "resorting to a default judgment." Under this theory, Apple deliberately allowed Motorola to win the default judgment to preserve all desired arguments on appeal, rather than being limited to those which were prepared in time for the preliminary injunction court date.

Apple has largely enjoyed success in German courts. The California-based company received two favorable rulings this year against Samsung, restricting sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Tab 7.7.

Apple is involved in lawsuits with Motorola, Samsung, and HTC around the world. Two more Motorola-Apple trials are scheduled for Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 before the Mannheim Regional Court.

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