Bloomberg News

Google’s Motorola Files New Patent Case Against Apple

August 18, 2012

Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s Motorola Mobility unit said it filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) claiming that features on some Apple devices, including the Siri voice-recognition program, infringe its patents.

The complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission claims infringement of seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players, Motorola Mobility said yesterday. The case seeks a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. Apple’s products are made in Asia.

“We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations,” Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement.

Motorola Mobility and Apple have been fighting since at least 2010 after licensing talks failed. Apple has said Motorola Mobility is making unreasonable demands, and argues that phones made by Motorola Mobility and other handset manufacturers that run on Google’s Android operating system are copying key patented features of the iPhone.

The complaint is the second that Libertyville, Illinois- based Motorola Mobility has filed at the agency against Apple. A copy of the new complaint wasn’t immediately available. The commission is scheduled to announce a final decision Aug. 24 in the earlier case, and could impose an import ban on the iPhone.

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, had no immediate comment.

Broader Battle

The dispute is part of a broader battle for share in a smartphone market that Bloomberg Industries said rose 62 percent to $219 billion last year. Apple, which made one-third of the smartphones sold in the U.S. last quarter, is in the midst of a patent-infringement trial (AAPL:US) in federal court in California with its biggest rival, Samsung Electronics Co.

Android, which is distributed by Mountain View, California- based Google, is the most popular platform for smartphones. Google bought Motorola Mobility in May.

A trade judge in April said Apple infringed one of four Motorola Mobility patents in the first case. The patent covers a way computers transmit signals through Wi-Fi. The full commission is reviewing those findings and is scheduled to release its final decision on Aug. 24.

A key issue in that case is whether the agency, which is designed to protect U.S. markets from unfair trade practices, should issue import bans on products found to infringe patents on technology used in industry standards.

Industry Standards

Companies that help develop standards to let electronics work together pledge to license patents covering those standards on fair and reasonable terms. Apple contends that issues over what is fair should be resolved in a federal district court, since the ITC doesn’t have the power to award damages.

Motorola Mobility said Apple has refused to negotiate a license and that Apple’s argument is merely a way to avoid punishment for infringing another company’s patents.

Apple filed its own patent-infringement case against Motorola Mobility at the Washington agency. The commission in March upheld a judge’s determination that the handset manufacturer wasn’t infringing one Apple patent and that two other patents were invalid. Apple is appealing that decision.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at sdecker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net


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