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Germany Has Banned Motorola Phones

The patent trolls strike again!

Michael Cruickshank
Germany Has Banned Motorola Phones© 2018 Motorola Mobility

A local court has made a ruling today in Germany that could result in all of their smartphones being banned from sale across Germany. The court has alleged that Motorola infringed on the patents of a German laser technology company (LPKF) in some of their devices.

Primary, Motorola, now owned by Lenovo, was found to be using a patented technique to build antennae for their mobile devices. Called Laser Direct Structuring (LDS), this technique, which was pioneered by LPKF, allows lasers to micro-etch small pits and cavities in a piece of plastic, before being overlaid with a metallic coating. This technique is cheaper and faster than alternative methods used in the construction of often complicated antennae systems.

This patent itself has been previously ruled void in China, and it was probably this decision which prompted Motorola to make use of it in some of their smartphones.

The results of this decision will be felt sharply. 

Regardless of the which company of Motorola’s myriad past and present owners is ultimately responsible for making using this patent, the results of the decision will be felt sharply. Motorola phones will immediately be banned from sale within the German market, which represents one of the largest in the European Union. In addition, businesses which own these phones, may be required to return their phones to the vendor from which they bought them in a massive product recall.

Due to the major implications of the decision, this is a very risky move from LPKF. Should Motorola, Google, or Lenovo appeal the decision made by this local court at a higher level, and be successful in overturning the decision, they could potentially counter-sue LPKF for damages due to loss sales.

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