U.S. technology group Apple scored a legal success over rival Motorola Mobility Holdings when a German court said it could no longer ask Apple to halt sales of iPhone and iPad devices for now.
"The licensing terms offered by Apple sufficiently addresses Motorola's interests," the higher regional court in Karlsruhe, Germany, said on Monday. Its decision was a preliminary assessment in an ongoing appeals process.
Apple and Motorola, which Google is in the process of acquiring, are engaged in global patent litigation, part of a broader legal fight over the smartphone market, with billions of dollars at stake.
Motorola won a temporary injunction in a Mannheim court in December that forced Apple to stop the sale of iPhone 3G and 4 models and 3G/UMTS-based iPads, which Motorola said infringed some of its patents, on its German online store.
Apple has been fighting the injunction since then, saying Motorola should allow it to use its patented technology because companies in the mobile device sector cannot get around using it if they want to remain competitive.
Motorola has said it has negotiated with Apple and offered it "reasonable licensing terms and conditions since 2007".
The Karlsruhe court said Apple has now amended its counter-offer for terms twice to have the injunction overturned.
"At the current stage, which only allows a summary assessment of the two sides' arguments, it is to be assumed that Motorola would be in breach of its obligations under anti-trust legislation if it continued to demand that Apple does not sell the iPhone and iPad," the court said.
In a separate dispute between the two companies, Apple was forced last week to deactivate "push" notification features for mobile users of its iCloud and MobileMe services in Germany, after an injunction in favour of Motorola.
It is also locked in disputes over mobile patent infringement with other companies including Samsung Electronics and HTC, in several countries.
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012
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