We recently heard some scary news regarding the Apple vs. HTC lawsuits and their potential to damage Android. Fortunately, now it looks like there have been a couple major reversals for the Apple vs. "everyone" debacle, at least in regards to some of their other lawsuits.
Android scored two major legal victories this holiday season. First, the final appeal from Apple in Australia ended in favor of Samsung. Originally, Apple won a temporary injunction to ban sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia, but then an appeals court reversed that decision. Apple then appealed that decision, but were rejected on this final appeal.
The second victory for Android was a bigger one. A little known, and only mildly covered lawsuit was also pending in which Motorola counter-sued Apple, claiming copyright infringement against a Moto patent that basically covers a: "METHOD FOR PERFORMING A COUNTDOWN FUNCTION DURING A MOBILE-ORIGINATED TRANSFER FOR A PACKET RADIO SYSTEM". A ruling was handed down in the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany on this lawsuit, banning the sale of the iPhone and iPad throughout Europe! Right now this is only a preliminary injunction and is only enforceable against Ireland-based Apple subsidiary Apple Sales International. Apple must now remove the infringing functions or appeal to Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court, which is likely the route they will take. This is a fairly stunning setback for Apple, but of course will continue to develop over time.
It still remains to be seen how things will go for Android as a whole though. On December 14th, a U.S. court will finally hear HTC's appeal regarding their infringement of a couple of Apple patents. We covered it previously, but it bears repeating because the patents are so broad that if Apple wins, it could affect the entire Android ecosystem.
Here's a small add-on to the overall story. In a bit of ridiculous irony, back in September, Apple actually had the gall to accuse Motorola and Samsung of being "anti-competitive" by using patent lawsuits to stifle competition. Apple must have forgotten the time-line of events, because they were the ones who began this gigantic lawsuit fiesta, and Motorola and Samsung simply counter-sued in defense. Obviously, a big part of the problem is the broken patent system, and the ability of companies to license broad and vague patents. However, that does not absolve anyone of their responsibility to use the system fairly. Stating that "the system is broken and setup that way, so it is perfectly okay for a company to take advantage of it" is like saying it would be okay to murder someone if the law permitted it. There is such a thing as ethics, and it is up to each person, or group, to attempt to be as ethical as possible.
Regardless of the philosophical debate, Apple calling Motorola and Samsung "anti-competitive" is like that kid you played with that constantly changes the rules of the game, and then calls you a cheater when you win anyway. After a while, no one wants to play with that kid, and it almost looks like that is what Apple might be worried about. What do you think?
Source: AndroidPolice (1), (2) and Engadget and BGR
Image Source: Reuters