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The cataclysmic end is in site for Apple


Published: 16 December, 2011


When we look back at when the cracks began to emerge in Apple's aggressive litigation strategy, we will come back to this week and pinpoint it as the turning point. Motorola has pointed out that a German Court has ruled that Apple's Ireland based international sales company has infringed on Motorola data packet patents which are essential in order to make a mobile phone. It has simply announced than both an injunction and damages are to be awarded, but detailed neither so far. The iPhone could be off the shelves by Christmas.

This is the first court anywhere to confirm what everyone should have known all along, that Apple has not paid its dues to make mobile phones and that the iPhone can be pulled off shelves until it makes a deal with Motorola (read Google) for a patent license. Apple managed to get a deal done with Nokia when really Nokia had all the cards up its sleeve and should have settled for far more than monetary recompense in order to let Apple off the hook. Google, with Android at stake will exact a far higher toll.

It is largely understood that the 150 or so patents that are essential to making a mobile phone, fall into a handful of smaller patent holders like Interdigital, which only want to be paid a reasonable fee for royalties, major software players like Microsoft, which takes much the same view, plus most of the companies that Apple has targeted in its various patent cases - Motorola, Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm - and until it has patent deals with all of these, there is constant danger that the Apple devices can be pulled off the shelves.

Apple has had the world's media convinced that the opposite is true and that its meagre and likely indefensible touch control patents were enough to make it immune and make it appear like the "wronged" company. That might work against largely patent empty handset makers like HTC, but it will not work against the big foundering fathers of mobile.

For a full version of our analysis of both stories please go to and order this week's copy of Faultine and perhaps sign up for a trial.

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