Apple Inc. (AAPL) said it may face as much as 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in lost sales if a German court rules in favor of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. in a patent-infringement case over mobile devices.
Apple lawyers argued at a hearing in Mannheim that if Motorola Mobility won the case and received an order that forced Apple to halt sales of some products, Motorola Mobility should post the amount in a bond to cover any damages caused while the case is on appeal. Apple denies infringing the Motorola Mobility patent, which relates to e-mail account synchronization.
“I am not yet entirely sure that amount adequately mirrors the commercial value of this dispute,” said Andreas Voss, the presiding judge at the hearing. “The technology isn’t a standard and there are alternative ways to provide the same services.”
The suit is one of several filed by Motorola Mobility, the mobile-phone maker being acquired by Google Inc. (GOOG), against Apple in Germany and the companies are also entangled in patent disputes in the U.S. Google is buying Motorola Mobility to gain mobile patents and expand in the hardware business. Google’s Android is also the operating system for phones made by companies such as HTC Corp. (2498) and Samsung Electronics Co.
German courts often require the winning side to post collateral if it wants to enforce a ruling while the loser appeals. The amount reflects the losses the party may suffer when forced to comply with the ruling. If it wins the appeal, it can seek damages and can make use of the collateral.
The iPhone and iPad together generated $67 billion in worldwide sales, or a combined 62 percent of Apple’s $108.2 billion in revenue in the year ended September 24.
The court will issue a ruling on Feb. 3.
Apple spokesman Georg Albrecht declined to comment. Tom Miller, intellectual-property vice president at Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility, declined to comment.
Apple lawyers told the court that the technology it uses isn’t covered by the Motorola Mobility patent as filed. The methods described in the patent were also already in the public domain when the patent was filed, they said.
The court will examine whether the information was publicly accessible at the time of filing and if it was accessible in all parts of the technology, said Voss.
Today’s case is LG Mannheim, 7 O 229/11.
To contact the reporters on this story: Karin Matussek in Mannheim via firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons in London at aaarons@Bloomberg.net