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Apple pulls all 3G iOS devices but iPhone 4S from German online store

Apple has removed all 3G/UMTS-capable iPad and iPhone models from its German online store in response to an injunction based on a wireless standard FRAND patent owned by Motorola Mobility.

According to a Friday report by German language news agency dpa (Deutsche Presse-Agentur), Apple has taken down (machine translation) 3G iPads and iPhones from its online storefront in compliance of an injunction Motorola won in Mannheim in December 2011.

The news comes mere hours after another Motorola court win in Germany, however that suit pertains to an unrelated patent and has no bearing on the online Apple Store's product removal.

All versions of Apple's 3G/UMTS-capable iPad, including the iPad 2, the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 were pulled from the company's German site as the products were ruled as infringing on a Motorola declared-essential GPRS patent.

The Droid RAZR maker has apparently decided to post the 100 million euro bond required to enforce the injunction, though it is unclear as to why it waited two months to do so.

FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller, who attended the December hearing, points out that the next generation iPhone 4S is not included in the injunction because it uses a baseband chip made by Qualcomm while older 3G-capable iDevices were built around chips from Infineon/Intel. He goes on to say that if Motorola and Qualcomm have a cross-license agreement, Apple's newest handset is most likely covered by patent exhaustion as a patent owner can only be paid once for same use of its intellectual property.

German online store

The iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 are designated "derzeit nicht verfugbar," or "currently unavailable" | Source: Apple


Mueller notes that Motorola is also attempting to enforce the same patents that brought about the product removal against Apple Inc. in the U.S., and the company has already won a default German judgment due to a "no-show" by Apple's legal team.

All of the products affected by the injunction can still be purchased at German brick-and-mortar shops including the Apple Store.