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Thursday, March 01, 2012, 07:42 am PT (10:42 am ET)

Apple wins injunction against Motorola in Germany over photo gallery patent

Apple on Thursday earned a key victory in a German patent infringement suit against Motorola Mobility, earning the iPhone maker an injunction against a number of Motorola devices.

Judge Dr. Peter Guntz ruled that all Motorola devices implementing European Patent 2059868, entitled "Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management," are in violation, granting Apple an injunction against them. According to Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, Apple could even choose to require Motorola to destroy any infringing products in its possession in Germany and recall infringing products from German retailers at its own expense.

The patent was originally awarded in September of 2010, and signs that the German court would side with Apple first surfaced in a hearing in December. It's likely that Apple's victory will require Motorola to modify its software and work around Apple's original ideas.

A similar turn of events occurred last August, when Apple won a preliminary injunction against Samsung in a Dutch court. Samsung also modified its software to avoid infringing on Apple's patent.

Though Apple's win isn't a "knockout blow" against Motorola, it could have a detrimental effect on the company's products as it modifies its software to avoid infringement.

"The fact of the matter is that Motorola will keep selling devices that will continue to have a photo gallery, though any workaround will definitely degrade the user experience," Mueller wrote. "As a Samsung customer affected by an update following the Dutch injunction, I have experienced this myself."

Friday will conclude a busy week in court for Apple, as the Mannheim Regional Curt is set to decide on a lawsuit against Samsung over Apple's "slide to unlock" patent, as well as a Samsung suit against Apple related to wireless 3G standards.