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Multiple Motorola and Lenovo devices banned in Germany

In the aftermath of a patent dispute, Motorola and Lenovo are no longer allowed to sell smartphones and laptops with WWAN modules. Although some targeted Lenovo laptops can still be acquired as long as existing stocks last, the brand might appeal the court's decision and revert the ruling.

The long hand of the law catches the tech world off-guard once again in Europe, and this time the victims are Motorola and Lenovo. Although the story unfolds in Germany, it involves China-based brand Lenovo, its subsidiary Motorola, and InterDigital, a tech name that hails from the US. The result of a legal fight between the latter and the first two names mentioned here is that the sales of devices that have a WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network) module installed are now banned. Sadly, this measure hits both smartphones (all Moto handsets, including the Edge 50 family) and laptops.

Earlier this month, InterDigital announced the first decision of the Regional Court in Munich, which "held that Lenovo infringes InterDigital’s patent-in-suit covering 4G and 5G devices, that InterDigital has acted in a FRAND manner at all times, and that Lenovo is an unwilling licensee who has not acted in line with widely recognized FRAND principles." However, Lenovo can appeal the decision and will do so. A few days later, InterDigital deposited over four million euros with the court, and provisional enforcement was activated, while Lenovo revealed that they are "looking forward" to the next stages of the legal battle, mentioning the appeal.

While the InterDigital name might not mean much to most people, this brand has been around for over half a century. Founded in 1972, the company is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. It currently develops solutions for wireless and video across mobile devices, networks, and services. In 2020, InterDigital had about 500 employees, $359 million in revenue, and no less than 32,000 US and foreign patents and patent applications. Three years later, it hit a revenue of almost $550 million with a net income of $214 million. The company is both listed on NASDAQ and the S&P SmallCap 600.

For now, the effect of the legal battle unfolding in Germany is that the local Motorola website no longer has any smartphones listed, only selling a few accessories. The Lenovo German website still has some laptops for sale, but the mobile configuration options will only remain available until the existing stock runs out. Some third parties still have Motorola smartphones and Lenovo products with WWAN modules on sale for now, but that is also expected to change. Amazon currently has the previous-generation Motorola Edge 40 5G discounted by 9%, so the 8/256 GB international version can be acquried for $409.46 instead of $449.50. However, depending on the location, various shipping and import fees will apply.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 05 > Multiple Motorola and Lenovo devices banned in Germany
Codrut Nistor, 2024-05-13 (Update: 2024-05-14)