How Apple can avoid iPhone, iPad ban in Germany

Apple is reported to have found a loophole that will help the firm avoid a German ban on devices such as the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, requested by Motorola in a patent dispute between the two companies.

The ban was handed down by default in a district court in Mannheim on Friday after Apple failed to appear, potentially paving the way for a ban on all Apple smartphone and tablet devices in Germany - but as IT news site Fudzilla reports, the company may have found a way around it.

Apple's official line on the ruling is that it was "a procedural issue [that] has nothing to do with the merits of the case".

What Apple appears to be referring to is that technically Motorola took its lawsuit out against Apple's parent company,Apple, Inc., which is owned and operated in the US. The company's German subsidiary, Apple GmbH, isn't subject to the injunction, argues Apple, so can continue selling their hardware.

However, if you want to get hold of an Apple smartphone or tablet in Germany, you may need to do so fast, because the only problem with this skirting of the ruling is that Apple will run out of stock at some point - and won't be able to bring those stock levels back up without involving Apple, Inc. - which is, of course, subject to the ban.

Of course they could attempt to restock, but that wouldn't be the smartest of plans. For each infringement against the original ruling - which an import of iPhones or iPads would be - the Judge can issue a fine of 250,000 Euros, as well as levying prison sentences against Apple executives.