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Apple wins German patent suit against Motorola

Apple wins German patent suit against Motorola
An Apple iPhone 4S displaying the company's "slide to unlock" feature, which is patented in Europe. (Nathan Olivarez-Giles/Los Angeles Times)

Apple has won a German lawsuit against Motorola Mobility over claims "slide-to-unlock" patents that the iPhone-maker owns were illegally infringed upon.

A Munich Regional Court ruled Thursday that a number of Motorola's smartphones, which run Google's Android operating system, violate two European patents owned by Apple that keep a phone locked unless a user performs "gestures on an unlock image," according to a report from Foss Patents, a blog written by patent expert Florian Mueller.

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The German ruling also gives Apple the ability to seek financial damages and request a permanent injunction banning Motorola from selling offending gadgets in that country, Mueller said in his report, but it's unclear what Apple will ask for from here.

Not all Motorola products were found to be in violation of Apple's patents, however. The Motorola Xoom tablets use an unlocking system that allows a user to move an on-screen lock icon to a digital ring and this approach is unique enough to be legal, Foss Patents said.

Officials and Motorola and Apple were unavailable for comment on Friday, but the BBC reported that Motorola was likely going to appeal the decision.

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