Google-owned Motorola Mobility files new patent suit against Apple

By Graeme Burton
20 Aug 2012 View Comments

Google's Motorola Mobility business has filed a new patent infringement suit against rival Apple, claiming that a number of Apple iPhone features infringe patents Google acquired when it bought Motorola's mobile phone unit.

Motorola is calling for a US ban on Apple desktop and mobile devices. Its case is based on seven patents that are not considered to be "standards essential". That is to say, patents that Motorola is under no obligation to licence under "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" terms.

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"We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple's unwillingness to work out a licence leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations," a Motorola Mobility spokesperson told the Bloomberg newswire in a statement.

The suit is not the first between the two companies over their respective mobile phone operating systems. Back in March 2012, before Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility had been completed, a court in Chicago, Illinois had ordered Google to hand over information to Apple about both the development of the Android operating system, as well as its Motorola acquisition.

In April, the judge in that case ruled that Apple infringed one of four Motorola patents regarding Wi-Fi networking. The case is now due back in court on Friday, 24 August. Motorola has asked the court to ban the import of the offending Apple products.

Google's new legal salvo against Apple follows a week in which Samsung, which uses Google's Android operating system on many of its phones, hit back at Apple in its own patent infringement case with the Cupertino, California-based company.

Samsung, in that case, is widely regarded as a proxy for Google – with Apple going after the major users of Android before it takes on Google itself, if its legal action gains such traction. Google, meanwhile, is using the patents it acquired with its $12.5bn (£8bn) acquisition of Motorola to hit back.

In 2010, Apple had pressed Samsung to sign a cross-licensing agreement that effectively would have required Samsung to pay Apple royalties on every phone it produced – even feature phones whose development predates the launch of Apple's iPhone.

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