FRANKFURT - A court in Munich ruled on Thursday that Motorola Mobility, owned by Google Inc, had infringed an Apple Inc patent and ordered that all tablets and smartphones containing the technology be recalled.
Judge Peter Guntz said Motorola had infringed Apple's "overscroll bounce" technology, which enables users to move documents over the screen of their device and let them bounce back to the centre after releasing their fingers.
A spokeswoman for the court said the ruling was not likely to have an immediate impact as Apple would have to specifically request a ban on the product and Motorola could also appeal against the ruling.
Apple and Google did not immediately reply to requests for a comment on the ruling.
Google bought lossmaking Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year, in its largest acquisition ever, aiming to use the company's patents to fend off legal attacks on its Android mobile platform and expand beyond its software business.
Other technology companies have also invested billions of dollars in buying up patent portfolios that they can use against rivals and have also ploughed money into litigation in the United States and Europe.
Last month Apple scored a landmark legal victory over Samsung Electronics Co Ltd when a U.S. jury found the Korean company had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.
Germany has become a major battleground in the global patent war between makers of mobile phones, tablet computer devices and their operating software, as court actions there have proved to be relatively cheap and speedier than in other jurisdictions.