German Patent Court invalidates keyboard patent Apple acquired from Mitsubishi

“The Bundespatentgericht (BPatG, Federal Patent Court of Germany) yesterday struck down yet another smartphone patent: EP1168859 on a ‘portable radio communication apparatus using different alphabets,’ a multilingual keyboard patent Apple acquired from Mitsubishi a couple of years ago and asserted (unsuccessfully because the courts didn’t believe it was valid) against Samsung, Google’s Motorola Mobility, and HTC,” Florian Müller reports for FOSS Patents. “Samsung and Google were pursuing nullity (invalidation) complaints against it; the dispute between Apple and HTC was settled globally more than a year ago, resulting in the withdrawal of HTC’s nullity action.”

“Apple had brought its infringement cases over this patent in Mannheim, Germany,” Müller reports. “The cases against all three defendants were stayed. Apple stipulated to a stay of the case against HTC; the court stayed the Samsung and Motorola Mobility cases because it considered this patent highly probable to be invalidated.”

Müller reports, “A few months after the German infringement trials, the England and Wales High Court adjudicated a declaratory judgment complaint by HTC relating to a total of four patents and found this multilingual keyboard patent invalid (and, which therefore didn’t matter, infringed by HTC).”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. The loss of this patent could be a huge win for Apple inc.
    Considering that the three other complainants are bringing umpteen dozen more related lawsuits against Apple inc. Apple inc. may have created a precedent in which all the other suits brought to bear against it cannot survive based upon the precedent just created. i.e patents that you have bought and then sought to ban your rivals from using could simply be thrown out without much ado because of the precedent created by Apple’s loss.
    I wonder if this is how the game plays out….

    1. silverhawk1. Buying patents as a defensive measure to protect you from frivolous lawsuits such as those brought against Apple inc. is not suing other entities for the patents acquired. Do not forget that Apple inc. bought those patents as part of a consortium whose main interest was to defend themselves from being forced to the negotiating table by googol et al with a loaded gun pointing at them under the table having just stolen their IP. (iPhone OS)

  2. Acually Foss pointed out that the patent was granted by one branch of the government and nullified by another. He said that this shows that the patent office needs to get its excriment together. Just like in the USA. Patent office patents it, only for a court to nullify the patent.

          1. You put him back in there breeze.

            Actions have consequences. Those willing to “play ball” with the current administration get very different treatment from those who don’t.

            And for those who don’t understand what I am talking about, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, or USC(IP), is a high-ranking official in the United States Department of Commerce and the principal advisor to the United States Secretary of Commerce on the intellectual property matters. The Under Secretary is dual-hatted as the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office within the Commerce Department.

            The Under Secretary is appointed by the President of the United States with the consent of the United States Senate to serve at the pleasure of the President.

    1. Totally agree elder norm.

      The ideal is to get the actual source of any problem and cure it. As we’ve been ranting around here for at least a decade, the US Patents and Trademarks Office is severely broken, irresponsible and the cause of most patent invalidations. Justly, the USPTO should be paying all these patent lawsuit fees. You broke it? You buy it.

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