Moto Maker recently hit Germany, and the folks there were pleased with having more than two choices in color for their Motorola Moto Xes. But lo and behold, something has come up in the German court system that has a bone to pick, a large one in fact, with Motorola Mobility U.S.A. as well and Motorola Deutschland. Want to guess the topic in court? Did you guess patents and their infringement? If you did, probably as sick of patent cases as anyone else, but you’re also sadly correct.
The German Regional Court ruled today that Motorola had infringed on a patent held by the company LPKF. The patent? It covered the laying of antennas inside cell phones, on curved surfaces, such as corners and edges. Know which phones used that way and placement of antennas? The Moto X and G. Want to know the outcome? Motorola has had a ban placed on the sale of their infringing devices in the affecting area in Germany. After that brief rundown, here are the specifics of the whole ordeal.
LPKF is a laser engineering company in Garbsen, Germany and they had patented a technique and technology of laying an antenna inside a phone, called LDS (Laser Direct Structuring). The method allowed antennas to be curved and contoured to fit on or in the curves and contours of a cell phone’s body and casing/housing. Previously, LPKF has dealt legally with infringers, specifically in China, where their patent had previously been invalidated in 2013, which LPKF had appealed and considered by China’s Supreme Court. LPKF, since they have this patent and the more-than-willingness to enforce their ownership, said (in an official press release on their blog) that “the more attractive a patent is, the harder you have to work to defend it”. Dr. Ingo Bretthauer spoke this, and continued to say “We (LPKF) will continue to fight for our patent in China and systematically take action against infringers outside China. This is part and parcel of a technology company’s everyday business.”
It’s good to see companies defending their ideas and technologies, but sometimes it seems a little (or completely) ridiculous when it is used to outright ban and remove a device from the area. It is also good to see companies really trying to own their specific area of expertise, but the way you place an antenna? And LPKF also stated in their press release that the main reason for pursuance of the infringers is the fact that the parts made using their technology are ‘counterfeits’, so take that as you will. Either way, if you own a Moto X or Moto G in Germany, I’d recommend that you start looking for a new phone, since sales will cease and a recall will be issued for the sold devices. Stay tuned in to check for further developments.
Update: Here’s a statement from Motorola for attribution:
“Motorola has taken steps to avoid interruption in supply or recall issues by using components from an authorized source in its phones that are currently shipping.”