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May 2014: Another Victory for Google and Motorola Against Apple in a Patent Case Aimed at the Android OS

May 2014

On behalf of Google and Motorola, Quinn Emanuel’s German offices continued their winning streak in defending the Android ecosystem. On February 4, 2014, after an intense two day oral hearing, an Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked Apple’s European Patent EP 2 098 948 B1 on a touch event model which claimed a core functionality of the iOS devices in its entirety.

This patent had been asserted against Motorola as well as Samsung and HTC in Germany as well as in other European jurisdictions. Quinn Emanuel had already convinced the District Court in Mannheim, Germany (the venue in which Apple sued Motorola) to dismiss the infringement suit by showing that the claimed flags based on which touch events are being processed were not implemented in the Android OS.

As the patent-in-suit was asserted by Apple immediately after grant, an opposition proceeding, rather than a nullity action, had to be initiated at European Patent Office. The advantage of such an opposition proceeding is that the patent can be revoked with effect for all designated member states of the European Patent Convention. Motorola joined the already pending opposition proceeding, which had originally been filed by Samsung, after it was sued by Apple in the Mannheim court.

Quinn Emanuel identified the decisive piece of prior art based on which the EPO revoked the patent as granted due to lack of novelty. Apple relentlessly tried to defend its patent by filing several auxiliary requests. These attempts culminated in Apple filing a further auxiliary request with an amended set of claims at the beginning of the second day of the hearing. None of these survived oral argument.

With only very limited time to react to Apple’s most recent auxiliary request, Quinn Emanuel succeeded in convincing the court that neither of the auxiliary requests Apple finally chose to maintain could differentiate the claimed teaching over the prior art and that these should not be allowed.