Print 69 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Feb 27 at 2:40 PM

Push-email is likely gone from the iCloud for at least a year

It is a small thing.  But as Apple, Inc. (AAPL) well knows, it is the little things that sell a product.

I. Bye Bye Bye

Apple had proudly unveiled the iCloud in mid-2011.  The service offers photo streaming, documents "in the cloud", automated backups, and push email/calendar/contacts.  Well, for Germany, Europe's third largest tablet and smartphone market, the good times are over, as the push email functionality is officially banned.

After new Google Inc. (GOOGacquisition Motorola Mobility secured a preliminary injunction just weeks ago in German court, Apple failed to convince a judge to inflate the bond.  As a result, Motorola paid the bond to carry through with the ban.  Some sources are estimating that bond could have cost around €100M ($134.1M USD).

iCloud ban
The iCloud's core push-email is verboten in Germany. [Image Source: 9 to 5 Mac]

Left with little recourse, Apple was left doing the same thing it had forced Android phonemakers to do -- remove features.  To recap, Apple has already forced several Android phonemakers to remove the "bounce" animation from their smartphones, and degrade the quality of scrolling in their gallery.  Those concessions come after preliminary injunction losses in regions such as the Netherlands.  And in Germany Apple has even banned Motorola and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) from using unidirectional slide-to-unlock, forcing them to use a clunky spiral motion unlock screen.

Apple writes to its German fans the bad news:

Due to recent patent litigation by Motorola Mobility, iCloud and MobileMe users are currently unable to have iCloud and MobileMe email pushed to their iOS devices while located within the borders of Germany.

Affected customers will still receive iCloud and MobileMe email, but new messages will be downloaded to their devices when the Mail app is opened, or when their device periodically fetches new messages as configured in iOS Settings. Push email service on desktop computers, laptop computers, and the web is unaffected, as is service from other providers such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

Apple believes Motorola's patent is invalid and is appealing the decision.

Apple's calendar and contacts syncing will continue to function as normal in iCloud and MobileMe, despite the loss of push email.

II. Why Was the iCloud Feature Banned, and What Is Next?

The device maker faces an uphill struggle from here on out.  Like many of Apple's patents that it's litigated with, Motorola's push email patent may be invalid due to prior art or other issues (novelty, etc.).  

In the U.S., a lower federal courts judges can ban a product or service via preliminary injunction if they feel that:

a) The described product or service clearly violates the patent

b) There is not a "high likelihood" that a patent is invalid.

The German court system works slightly differently, but the end result is the same.  In Germany infringement proceeds along one track, while validity proceeds along a second, parallel track [source].  A judge can pause (stay) the infringement proceedings to wait for the conclusion of the validity, but only if there is a "high likelihood" of their validity.

Again, both systems rely on the premise of a "high likelihood" of invalidity, which is typically defined at somewhere around 70 to 80 percent.  Of course this is wholly subjective, meaning how one judge might rule could vary substantially from what another judge might rule.

For now Apple's iPads and iPhones have been crippled of a key feature, much as Apple has crippled its competitors. Apple's next soonest hope of killing the painful ruling comes when it pleads its case before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, a German appeals court.  The appeals court has a lower standard of invalidity to grant a stay -- it can grant a stay if it feels that there's over a 50 percent chance of invalidity.

Angry iPhone owner
iPhone owners must live with the ban, likely for at least a year. [Image Source: Tech Axcess]

However, the issue for Apple is that the appeals court likely won't hear the case for at least a year -- ironically, a delay which may in part be lengthened due to all the appeals Apple has generated in its its own injunction wins over Android phonemakers.  And, of course, there's no guarantees that the appeals court will even see the patent as 50 percent or more likely to be invalid.

The Android v. Apple patent dispute is increasingly looking like   a stalemate of growing attrition.  Everyone is losing -- especially the customers -- as features disappear from both sides' products.  And there's little sign that the leadership on either side is willing to offer an end to the conflict.

Note 1:

The higher invalidity standard is in major contrast with other EU nations, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Note 2:

The push-email patent used in this case is not a patent promised under the "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) rules.  Thus, unlike some other recent rulings -- such as a German ban on online iPad/iPhone sales -- Motorola stands no risk of getting in trouble for FRAND abuse for its effort (as, again, the patent is not FRAND).

Note 3:

The patent involved in this ruling is 
EP (European Patent) 0847654 (B1).  The U.S. counterpart: U.S. Patent No. 5,754,119, which covers a "multiple pager status synchronization system and method".

Source: Apple

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By generosity9 on 2/24/2012 2:01:36 PM , Rating: 5
Here's the problem. It was Apple (the CEO) who stated that they were going thermonuclear war on Android. It was Apple who initiated lawsuits around the world with about half a dozen global companies. It was Apple who villainized its competitors, using language that doesn't even apply to patent law, like 'stealing our inventions'. Infringement is not stealing. How is the author obligated to be 'impartial' to who is clearly the antagonizer? You can go read AppleInsider or CultofApple if you want the Apple-biased story.

By Cheesew1z69 on 2/24/2012 2:21:41 PM , Rating: 1
You will not be able to rationalize with this one, the Apple force is strong with him.

By retrospooty on 2/24/2012 3:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
"It was Apple (the CEO) who stated that they were going thermonuclear war on Android. It was Apple who initiated lawsuits around the world with about half a dozen global companies. It was Apple who villainized its competitors, using language that doesn't even apply to patent law, like 'stealing our inventions'. Infringement is not stealing. How is the author obligated to be 'impartial' to who is clearly the antagonizer?"

Exactly... So tired of the hypocritical asinine attitude coming from Apple. "You cant copy what we copied. We invented that" ... Just make product dammit, get out of the courtroom and invent something.

By testerguy on 2/25/12, Rating: 0
By retrospooty on 2/27/2012 11:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
If you werent so narrow, you might see that it isnt OK. But Apple started it.

If I am against violence, and you punch someone in the face for no good reason, and then they punch you back, I will speak out against you. I don't agree that punching you back was a good course of action, but that fact is you startyed it and you deserve it. That is all this is about.

If I am incorrect and Apple didnt start all of this legal non-sense and Google, Samsung, HTC or Moto did, then I I would very much like to see links showing proof. It all must be available, legal cases have dates. If that is the case I will humbly apologize.

By Tony Swash on 2/27/2012 1:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
I can't say I have a tremendous background in the history of mobile related legal actions but this site (which is an anti-software patent site by the way)

seems to show that the first post iPhone legal action was when Nokia sued Apple in October 2009.

Apple filed suit against HTC Corporation, in March 2010 in the USA.

In early October 2010, Motorola started the legal con flict with Apple when it accused Apple of infringing 18 patents and filed suit in the USA in Northern Illinois and Southern Florida federal district courts.

On the 30th October, Apple filed a counter-suit in the USA,initially listing 12 patents allegedly infringed, and later amending the suit to list 24 patents.

So the pattern seems to be Nokia sued first and sued Apple, Apple sued HTC first, Motorola sued Apple first and Apple sued Samsung first.

I think the idea that the whole patent war over mobile was started by Apple is simplistic.

Personally I think the mobile patent war is peaking and will decline over the next few years. It probably won't change much but I think Apple stands a good chance of achieving their strategic legal aim which is to deter copying of their designs or OS features.

The legal wars won't much affect the market situation - Apple will continue to make the most profits and make the best selling handset and will continue to grow strongly. Samsung will continue to be the only serious competitor to Apple and one of the few Android licensees who actually make any money from Android. I will be surprised if WP7 gets any traction in the market but stranger things have happened.

By retrospooty on 2/27/2012 2:40:36 PM , Rating: 2
"Personally I think the mobile patent war is peaking and will decline over the next few years"

I agree, it likely will end. Highly doubtful that Apple will win, but I agree it will end. In the end it will accomplish nothing.

Anyhow, as far as Nokia. I don't know, they haven't been in any conversation going on here as they aren't an Android maker. And as far as Apple Android lawsuits, It still looks like Apple is copying far more than being copied and suing far more than being sued. Good luck with that.

Agreed that Apple will continue to be strong, wealthy and have massive sales. Good. They deserve it based on theri products, NOT on their lawsuits.

By Tony Swash on 2/24/12, Rating: -1
By sprockkets on 2/24/2012 6:55:50 PM , Rating: 2
As quoted by a third party after he was dead and he was dying and in a great deal of pain when he was supposed to have said it. I don't know about you but just stubbing my toe has caused me to say things I wouldn't have otherwise said.

So we went to the real story of SJ giving an interview about what happened btw him and the ex CEO of google that day years ago to he said that on his deathbed? Good one.

I'm sure having an axe to grind had nothing to do with Google voice being kicked out of the app store for no reason whatsoever.

The strategy will probably work and Microsoft's efforts with WP7 shows it's possible to build competent alternative mobile platforms without copying Apple so there is life after copying.

Bull Sht. WP7 infringes on at least 6 major new patents of apple, like the multi-touch ones, the multi-touch gestures, the slide to unlock patent and others. Apple won't sue MS because 1% market share isn't worth spending money over. What? Prior agreements? No proof of such for their new multi-touch patents.

Meanwhile I have to say this made me chuckle - there are some areas where Android has a huge lead over iOS and which demonstrates the true advantage of being 'open'

Meanwhile, I had a "chuckle" of more apps getting through apple's "vetting" and ignoring their polices of address book privacy. That's 4 major failures to do its job now, with the first one outing the ipad before release due to an app that phoned home device info.

By testerguy on 2/25/12, Rating: 0
By sprockkets on 2/25/2012 9:08:37 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, I don't know why you guys go on such tangents. What was or wasn't said by any CEO is of no relevance whatsoever to the legal merit of their court cases.

No it isn't. But since we didn't say it was, nice strawman.

It wasn't just Google's VOIP app which was banned. There were several, from different companies. 'Having an axe to grind' is therefore clearly not the reason.

Other than the fact that there was no official explanation given except "We haven't banned Google Voice, we are studying it", after already approving it months earlier. What a coincidence, it happened right as soon as SJ came back to work.

Sounds like Apple is in for a big pay day, then? That is, if Windows phones ever increase to become even a minor player in this industry. Of course, Apple isn't innovative so I don't know how they came up with Multi-touch on the original iPhone.

They didn't, but the stupid USPTO granted them the patents anyhow. Guess what? I just learned yesterday that the iphone wasn't the first phone with multi-touch gestures either.

While this is worded so poorly to render it almost completely unreadable to most people, I sense that there is some attempt at a veiled insult to the fact that Apple actually has standards which must be followed in its app store, the very thing leading many industry experts, and people such as Charlie Miller to define iOS as far more secure than Android?

Yep, apple has app guidelines and rules, and apps get in all the time that violate them. What are those morons doing when they rubber stamp that approval on apps anyhow. (sic)

By testerguy on 2/27/12, Rating: 0
By testerguy on 2/25/12, Rating: 0
By Peter898 on 2/25/2012 10:02:00 AM , Rating: 2
And lets not forget :
It was apple who stole Xerox's teevee-set before Bill managed to steal it !!

By ilt24 on 2/27/2012 8:27:39 AM , Rating: 1
And lets not forget : It was apple who stole Xerox's teevee-set before Bill managed to steal it !!

What you seem to have forgotten or never knew is that Xerox and Apple made a deal, where Apple got use of what they were shown at Xerox PARC and Xerox was able to buy Apple Stock Pre IPO.

The sleazy thing Apple did years later and Xerox to them court over was filing for patents on some of the GUI stuff from Xerox.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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