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Apple removes, then replaces products from German online store

The move is related to an ongoing legal battle with Motorola

Apple on Friday removed some of its products from its online store serving Germany due to a court injunction in its dispute with Motorola, but shortly after it removed the products a suspension of that injunction allowed Apple to again start selling them.

In December, the Mannheim Regional Court ruled that some iPhone and iPad devices infringe a Motorola patent and issued an injunction against sales of the products in Germany. The companies are engaged in a series of legal battles in Europe and the U.S. around patent infringement.

It's not clear why the injunction was lifted so quickly. Patent expert Florian Mueller, who has been closely following the case, said that under German law such an injunction could be lifted if Apple made a reasonable offer to license the patent in question.

"We are pleased that the Mannheim court has recognized the importance of our intellectual property and granted an enforceable injunction in Germany against Apple Sales International. Although the enforcement of the injunction has been temporarily suspended, Motorola Mobility will continue to pursue its claims against Apple," Motorola said in a statement.

Apple could not be reached for comment.

The patent is considered essential to GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), a radio communication standard. Motorola has said that it has been negotiating with Apple since 2007 for a license for the patent.

The companies have each filed complaints against each other at the U.S. International Trade Commission and in U.S. courts over phone technologies. Apple has also sued Motorola in Germany over the Xoom tablet.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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