updated 08:02 pm EDT, Wed April 24, 2013
Stay likely indefinite, will result in lift of push injunction
The Karlsruhe, Germany appeals court has ruled as expected, staying an Apple versus Motorola Mobility patent battle over the Google-owned push notification patent. According to the official announcement by the court about the stay, both parties agreed to the action, with Apple lowering its own expectations for a complete dismissal, and Google changing its position on the matter after an appellate hearing. Today's ruling will ultimately result in restoration of push notifications to Apple iCloud email users in Germany.
The stay comes after a hearing on Friday announced that Microsoft has a license on this same patent, which rules out injunctive relief on that company. The appeals court has expressed reservations about the validity of the Google/Motorola Mobility patent, which may turn out to be indefinite.
Google currently has an injunction on German iCloud users, preventing push notification of new emails. Apple will likely bring a motion to reinstate that functionality, if Google doesn't lift the enforcement on its own, which given history, it is unlikely to do. At the end of any Apple motion, if it becomes apparent that the injunction should never have been granted, Google will be liable for damages to the Cupertino manufacturer.
Patent analyst Florian Mueller believes that Google should have known that when it purchased Motorola Mobility that this patent was of questionable use in litigation for leverage over other companies. Mueller notes that "A December 2012 ruling by the England and Wales High Court, which I published a few months later, was a key milestone concerning the invalidation of this patent. The key claim of this patent was found invalid for four different, independent reasons."
Mueller adds of Google's litigation success with Motorola Mobility patents that "The Motorola patent acquisition has been so extremely unsuccessful that Google may simply not have thought the deal through before it agreed to pay $12.5 billion. Google wanted to gain leverage against Apple and Microsoft, but apart from the push notification win in Germany, which is now in the process of going away, and standard-essential patent injunctions it can't enforce, Motorola hasn't won anything that would give Google leverage."