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German court officially stays Google injunction of iCloud push email

A German appeals court on Monday stayed the enforcement of an injunction Google's Motorola won against Apple's iCloud push email in the country, meaning services will likely resume in the near future.

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An official from the Karlsruhe Higher Regional Court confirmed to FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller that it granted Apple's motion to stay the enforcement of Motorola's injunction first won in February 2012. Germany has been without iCloud push email since the ruling was handed down by the Mannheim Regional Court.

In April, the court held appellate hearings over the injunction's merits and suggested Google's counsel stipulate a stay to the proceedings. At the time, it was incorrectly reported that the stay was for the enforcement of the injunction, which was obviously not the case.

Mueller notes that winning a stay over an appeal is much easier than doing the same for the enforcement of an injunction due to the way German courts view injunctive relief.

"In the U.S., the assumption is that the patent holder can usually be made whole through monetary compensation, so if there's too much doubt, enforcement isn't allowed," Mueller writes. "In Germany, the whole idea is that a patent is next to worthless unless you can enforce an injunction, and the victim of premature enforcement of an injunction that isn't upheld on appeal can always seek damages later."

Despite knowing the odds were stacked against it, Google continued to assert the injunction even after the stay on appellate hearings. The patent-in-suit was found invalid in two separate complaints Google leveled against Microsoft, the first by a UK court and the second by the same Mannheim court that first granted the injunction against Apple.

In addition, the Federal Patent Court of Germany, or Bundespatentgericht, stated a preliminary position that Google's patent was likely invalid. This prompted Apple to file its recent motion to stay the injunction's enforcement. A nullity hearing scheduled for November will likely see the property invalidated, which in Germany retroactively affects any prior rulings.

To reinstate push services, Apple is required to post a bond in case it goes bankrupt or Google pulls out a win when litigation over the patent is finally completed, both unlikely scenarios. Once the bond is posted, which should happen in the next few days, iCloud push email will be restored in the country.