Sat, Sep. 13, 2008

German iPhone Litigation

CK - Washington.   iPhone litigation in Germany is heating up. Monopolist iPhone seller T-Mobile lost its challenge to a July 28, 2008 injunction won by VoIP provider Indigo Networks, operator of the Sipgate service. The injunction bars the traditional phone company from advertising a flat-rate tariff as a free flat data rate when it is in fact limited.

The Hamburg district court found in favor of Sipgate on September 10, 2008 but the written decision in the matter 315 O 360/08 is not published. Indigo had argued that T-Mobile reduces the Internet access speed and prevents customer from using chat and VoIP services. The reported basis for the injunction is § 5 UWG, the German statute against unfair competition.

Also on September 10, 2008, T-Mobile obtained an injunction preventing the German VoIP provider from offering a Sipgate beta software add-on to the iPhone that enables iPhone users from using free Sipgate telephony services. Reportedly, one of the arguments against the Sipgate offer is the term beta used to the describe the development status of the software module. The court is said to consider the term beta confusing to consumers.

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