Certain Motorola phones, including Edge 50 models, and some Lenovo mobile devices banned in Germany


According to TalkAndroid, because of a patent battle between Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, its Motorola subsidiary, and a U.S. company called InterDigital, certain devices produced by Lenovo and Motorola are now banned in Germany. The ban covers Motorola smartphones and Lenovo’s lineup of mobile devices. InterDigital alleges that Lenovo and Motorola infringed on its patents related to WWAN modules. WWAN stands for Wireless Wide Area Network, a wireless network that connects to the internet using cellular technology.
The Munich I District Court in Germany ruled in favor of InterDigital and immediately imposed an import ban in the country for any Lenovo and Motorola product that supports GSM, UMTS, LTE and 5G connectivity. That includes Motorola’s new Edge 50 series smartphones. Any phone or device made by Lenovo or Motorola that uses a SIM card or eSIM and connects to a mobile network is impacted by the ban. Besides Motorola phones, Lenovo tablets and laptops are affected by the court ruling.

InterDigital’s patent for its WWAN module is a standard essential patent (SEP) which means that it must be licensed by manufacturers for their products to meet certain standards. As a result, such patents are supposed to be available to license at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The court agrees with InterDigital’s position that Lenovo has not met InterDigital’s demands for fair and reasonable licensing terms. Lenovo believes that the patent owner is asking for too much money to license a standard essential patent and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

In Germany, only third-party retailers are allowed to sell Lenovo and Motorola mobile devices until their inventories are depleted. Devices that use WWAN modules no longer appear on Lenovo and Motorola websites in Germany. Lenovo and InterDigital can try to reach a settlement that will allow the former to license the SEP for the WWAN module. But until that happens, if you live in Germany and have your mind set on buying that Lenovo tablet or Motorola handset that has caught your eye, you best not procrastinate. 

Until the parties involved agree on a solution that Lenovo, InterDigital, and the German court can all agree with, supplies of impacted devices are going to be shrinking. And Economics 101 tells us that when supply drops and demand rises, higher prices follow.

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