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A German regional court Friday upheld a ban on a way Apple Inc. (AAPL) transmits emails to its iCloud and MobileMe customers in Germany, granting Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) a victory in the ongoing patent war between the two technology companies.
In its decision, the Mannheim regional court backed an earlier court decision against Apple's local entity that banned it from delivering messages to customers using its iCloud and MobileMe email services using quick transmission technologies, often known by the term "push." The Cupertino, Calif., gadget firm disabled push email in February for German customers and has since taken steps to make sure they still receive messages without using "push" technology.
In its ruling, the court said Apple must pay damages to Motorola Mobility, but didn't specify the amount.
"This is the same case Motorola already brought against another Apple entity and the court's decision does not impact product availability," Apple said in a statement, adding that it plans to appeal the decision. Motorola said it was pleased with the court's ruling.
The Mannheim court also held back from issuing a decision on Motorola's mobile communications patent, which is currently being debated in the other case between the two companies. Motorola is expected to offer Apple and other companies a license for that patent because it is considered essential for making wireless devices.
Apple has complained that Motorola hasn't made good on its promise to offer licenses in a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory way. A judge in another court said Motorola would be breaching antitrust law if it didn't offer Apple a license. The judge in Mannheim didn't say when the court there will rule on that patent.
Antitrust authorities in Europe have begun investigating Motorola as a result of complaints from both Apple and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), which Motorola is also suing over the way video is played on its Xbox 360 videogame console.
-By Ian Sherr and Ursula Quass, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-439-6455; firstname.lastname@example.org