German court orders Motorola to stop selling top phones

Moto X antenna. Image courtesy of iFixit.

Moto X antenna. Image courtesy of iFixit.

A German court has ordered Motorola to stop selling selected smartphones in Germany to do a dispute over the design of their antennas. The company’s flagship Moto X, Moto G, and other devices infringe a patent for “Laser Direct Structuring” that is owned by German engineering firm LPKF.

“On July 8, 2014, the Mannheim Regional Court ordered Motorola Deutschland and Motorola Mobility USA to refrain from selling cell phones in Germany that infringe the patent and ordered Motorola Deutschland to recall all cell phones that infringe the patent from commercial customers,” LPKF said in a statement today.

The court also determined that Motorola must pay compensation to LPKF.

Laser Direct Structuring is a popular process for producing complex antennas for smartphones and tablets, and it was patented by LPKF in China in 2013. Company CEO Dr. Ingo Bretthauer says that LPKF must work hard to fight infringement of that patent both inside and outside of China.

The ban on sales of Motorola devices in Germany is a significant one, because it affects the company’s most recent and most popular devices, including the Moto X and the affordable Moto G. Motorola Deutschland, the company’s German arm, must now recall all devices that are guilty of patent infringement.

Motorola will almost certainly appeal this ruling, but for now, it won’t be easy to get hold of certain Motorola devices in Germany.

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