Lately, it seems like there is always some kind of patent lawsuit in the news. Not only that, the majority of those involve Apple suing someone in an attempt to take their products off the market. Apple usually wins these lawsuits, and has even managed to win injunctions preventing the sale of Samsung tablets in places like Germany and Australia.
In an interesting turn against Apple, Motorola won a preliminary injunction against Apple in a Mannheim court.
Motorola (who was recently purchased by Google) had sued Apple for violating two of its patents related to wireless mobile phones, and received a preliminary injunction preventing Apple from selling any devices that violate the patents in Germany. While not specifically stated, the injunction would most likely apply to to the iPhone and 3G iPad.
Of course, this victory was more of a technicality than anything remotely conclusive. The only reason the judge ruled in favor of Motorola is because Apple actually failed to show up at the hearing, and Apple is only an appeal away from returning to the fight.
Although Apple is less than concerned about the impact of the decision, what the case really shows is how ridiculous the current patent lawsuits are. Not only could Motorola sue Apple over patents every cell phone on the planet probably violates, the default action is to ban the sales of the devices in an entire country. And while today the tables were turned against Apple, often they are the aggressors getting competition banned on the basis of very basic patents.
I don't care who is accusing who of infringement at this point, I think we have all seen that the things companies sue over today are really the basic building blocks for entire industries. If they can be allowed to continue in their current efforts, a company with the right patents could could carpet bomb the competition into the ground, and all with the help of the court systems.
If anything, I think this, along with the many other patent related stories in the news, should convince us that something needs to change. Right now the best target appears to bet the Patent Office granting these sorts of patents, or even the laws allowing software patents. Consumers need to realize that this is not a case of Apple vs. Android, put aside their differences, and work to make the market open to the kind of competition that will help us all.[Macworld]