German court dismisses €1.57 billion patent suit against Apple

IPCom will appeal the case

The Mannheim Regional Court has dismissed a lawsuit in which German patent licensing firm IPCom demanded €1.57 billion (US$2.1 billion) in damages from Apple for infringing a 3G patent, a court spokesman said Friday.

IPCom sued Apple over a patent that relates to the way handsets are allowed to access networks of various mobile telecommunications providers.

The firm has declared the European patent, EP 1 841 268, essential to the implementation of 3G mobile standards. Against Apple it asserted a narrowed version of that patent that was upheld by the European Patent Office (EPO) last month following challenges from Apple, Nokia, HTC, Ericsson and Vodafone.

IPCom also sued Apple over a German patent, DE 199 10 239, which relates to a way to manage access to overloaded wireless communication channels.

However, the court found no infringement of the patents and rejected both suits, said Mannheim Regional Court spokesman Joachim Bock in an email. The court also dismissed an IPCom lawsuit against HTC over the same European patent, Bock said,

Since the verdict was delivered orally by the court, there was as usual no oral justification, Bock said. As is customary in Germany, the court will explain its verdict in more detail when it sends a written version to the parties. This usually takes a few weeks.

IPCom will appeal the case with the Higher Regional Court of Mannheim, IPCom spokesman Alistair Hammond said, declining to comment further.

Apple declined to comment.

IPCom, which has a portfolio of almost 1,200 patents relating to mobile communications, is also suing Nokia over the same European patent. A hearing in a case between IPCom and Nokia is scheduled for May 28 at the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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