Germany’s Mannheim Regional Court announced this morning that Apple did not infringe the IPCom patents alleged to be essential to the 3G/UMTS standard. As discussed in our February 6, 2013 post, IPCom was seeking over $2 billion from Apple for infringement of European Patent EP1841268 and related German patent DE19910239 alleged to be essential to certain UMTS and LTE wireless standards related to providing priority access channels for emergency calls. The Court also dismissed the co-pending action against HTC involving the same German patent that had been asserted against Apple.
The ruling relies primarily on the Court’s interpretation of the term “bit” appearing in the claim limitation at issue. During the February 11, 2014 hearing, the parties submitted claim construction argument focusing on the proper scope and meaning of the term. Considering the European Patent Office’s decision upholding the patent’s validity, the Court held that the disputed amended claim language must be interpreted literally. An alternate construction otherwise would eliminate any difference between the scope of the original claim, which used the term “information”, and the amended claim with the more narrow term “bit”. Under this construction, the Court ruled that Apple (and HTC) did not infringe the asserted patent family and dismissed IPCom’s infringement actions.
IPCom’s Bernhard Frohwitter has previously indicated that IPCom will appeal Apple’s victory on the amended patent. IPCom also has alleged that Apple may be liable for infringing the original version of the patent.