German Court Delays Ruling on Apple Over-Scroll Patent

Apple Over Scroll Rubber Band Patent

Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility in Germany was postponed by the court Thursday, delaying a ruling on whether Motorola’s products infringe on Apple’s over-scroll bounce (rubber-banding) patent, according to FOSS Patents. The delay in judgment could cause ripples across Apple’s other patent litigation around the world, where the same patent is in dispute.

The Munich I Regional Court, which has been the venue for Apple’s and Microsoft’s patent litigation against Motorola Mobility in Germany, made the decision to delay today’s ruling on the over-scroll patent following a new filing related to the patent by the higher appeals court, the Munich Higher Regional Court. That court late last month affirmed a lower court’s denial of Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung on the same over-scroll patent.

A preliminary injunction is not always the final decision on an issue, but it does help to streamline the issues as the parties move on to the main proceedings. FOSS Patents’s Florian Mueller summarizes the legal topic well:

A decision on a motion for a preliminary injunction (even if it’s made by an appeals court) is, by definition, not final. It’s based on an assessment of the plaintiff’s chances of prevailing at the end of the main proceeding. Decisions on preliminary injunction motions (including the related appeals) are made on the fast track, and final decisions are made at the end of full-blown main proceedings.

However, one of the three judges just left the Munich I Regional Court, thereby preventing it from deliberating and making a decision on the new filing related to the higher court’s decision. The ruling has therefore been postponed until at least September 13, so that, once a new judge arrives, all three judges can evaluate the new filing in light of the higher court’s decision.

While other courts around the world are not always obliged to follow the rulings of courts in other nations or international jurisdictions, courts in South Korea and the United States, also hearing patent claims involving Apple, Samsung, Motorola, and Microsoft, have been keeping a close eye on developments among these companies in Germany.

Today’s delay on the over-scroll patent judgment will likely cause delays in Apple’s other litigation where the patent is also at issue. Judge Koh, presiding over Apple’s litigation against Samsung in California, for example, deemed that Samsung likely infringed on the patent but had thus far denied injunctive relief for equitable reasons as the court awaited rulings on the patent from other jurisdictions.