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Apple forced to halt push email in Germany

The patent war with Motorola has forced Apple to stop its push email service in Germany. Petty or fair play?

These patent wars have been interesting to us tech watchers so far, but this is the first time they'll actually impact on people using the products.

Apple has been forced to disable its push email notifications in Germany. Anyone using its iCloud or MobileMe services will have to collect email, contacts and calendar updates manually, or set their device to check regularly, the Telegraph reports.

A German court ruled in favour of Motorola concerning a patent that Apple claims dates back to the days of pagers. (Remember them?) "Apple believes this old pager patent is invalid and we're appealing the court's decision," a spokesperson said at the time.

Yesterday Apple added: "This ruling only impacts customers in Germany who use a push setting to get their MobileMe and iCloud email. These customers will still receive email to their devices."

Apple devices were banned from sale in Germany a few weeks ago because of a ruling in a Motorola lawsuit. Though a few hours later they were back on sale. Google is in the process of taking over Motorola -- the search giant makes iOS's arch rival Android too, which just makes things even more interesting.

Apple also complained that Motorola wasn't meeting its FRAND obligations (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory terms). These require companies to licence standardised technologies to rivals on fair terms, to make sure all competing devices play nicely with each other and so help out us consumers.

Motorola is second only to Samsung on Apple's hit list. Recently Apple won a case against Motorola concerning its use of the push-to-unlock feature on its handsets. Apple previously succeeded in having Samsung's Galaxy Tab banned from Germany, but Samsung redesigned it to get around the ban.

I think it's safe to say no one at Samsung or Motorola will be getting Christmas cards from Apple. Despite the fact Samsung actually supplies parts for the iPhone.

German courts typically rule much quicker than those in the UK, and so are the first port of call for tech companies looking to harm rivals.

What do you make of it all? Do you think a similar UK ruling will follow? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.