A courtroom in the city of Mannheim in Germany was to have been the focus of attention today – with the possibility of a ruling that could have a significant impact on how major international corporations structure their supply chains in the future.
Why Mannheim? Well it is where a patents battle is taking place involving Motorola and Microsoft. And the dispute has reached a point where Microsoft reportedly felt the need to move its main German distribution centre out of Germany and into the Netherlands.
Germany, it appears, is a favourite place for this kind of litigation owing to the strict interpretation of patent legislation by German courts.
One model of Samsung’s Galaxy tablet had to be taken off the shelves in Germany after a ruling that it infringed Apple patents. And Apple recently won a patent dispute with Motorola over the “slide to unlock” feature.
In fact, patent disputes between companies in the hi-tech sector are commonplace and only make headlines when the repercussions become significant. It’s not often that a major corporation starts rethinking its supply chain as a result.
However, we will have to wait and see what the real significance is – the court has postponed giving its decision until 2nd May.