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Monday, February 27, 2012, 05:56 am PT (08:56 am ET)

Apple's latest legal victory over Motorola in Germany declared 'huge'

Apple's latest courtroom win over Motorola Mobility in a German patent infringement suit is so significant, it has led one expert to now question whether Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola was worth it.

The Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court ruled on Monday that Motorola Mobility cannot further enforce its standard-essential patent injunction against Apple in Germany during its appeal. That indicates that Apple is "highly likely" to succeed, which was declared a "huge" win for the iPhone maker by intellectual property expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents.

"The appeals court summarily held that Apple has made an amended proposal for taking a license to MMI's patents on FRAND terms that should be acceptable to MMI, turning any further attempts to ban Apple's iPhone and iPad products into a violation of applicable antitrust law," Mueller wrote.

In fact, Apple's win on Monday was considered so significant by Mueller that he said it raises the question of whether Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last August has "failed before the deal is even formally closed." Experts have largely viewed Google's acquisition of Motorola as a deal driven by patent acquisitions to bolster its strength in a lawsuit-laden smartphone industry.

The decision comes less than a week after Microsoft joined the fray and filed an antitrust suit against Motorola Mobility in the European Union, accusing it of abusing its standard-essential patents. Both Microsoft and Apple believe Motorola has been illegally attempting to block sales of their products by leveraging patents that are obligated to be offered with fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing.

Motorola has sought in court to obtain 2.25 percent of Apple's sales of wireless devices, including the iPhone, in exchange for a patent license. Apple has argued that Motorola's royalty sought for a standard-essential patent is unfair, unreasonable and discriminatory.

While Monday's decision is a major win for Apple on the FRAND patent front, it is in no way related to the injunction Motorola obtained against Apple in Germany earlier this month related to push services. That has forced Apple to disable some of the functionality of its iCloud service in Germany.