Apple Gets Sued by Motorola Over Phone Patents

Motorola's experienced a revitalization thanks to its recent Android handsets, and with some fight now flowing through the company's veins, it is going on the legal offensive against Apple.

Specifically, it's Motorola Mobility that filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iTouch and certain Mac computers infringe Motorola patents. Motorola Mobility also filed patent infringement complaints against Apple in the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of Florida.

Overall, Motorola Mobility’s three complaints include 18 patents, which relate to "early-stage innovations" developed by Motorola found on many of Apple’s core products and associated services, including:

  • MobileMe
  • App Store
  • WCDMA (3G)
  • GPRS
  • 802.11
  • antenna design
  • wireless email
  • proximity sensing
  • software application management
  • location-based services
  • multi-device synchronization

Motorola Mobility has requested that the ITC commence an investigation into Apple’s use of Motorola’s patents and, among other things, issue an Exclusion Order barring Apple’s importation of infringing products, prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported, and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States. In court, Motorola Mobility has requested that Apple cease using the technology and provide compensation for past infringement.

Given that we're already in the fourth generation of iPhone, what took Motorola so long before it sprang into action? According to Motorola, it tried to come to terms with Apple and this latest move was the last straw.

Kirk Dailey, corporate vice president of intellectual property at Motorola Mobility, explained, “After Apple’s late entry into the telecommunications market, we engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license. We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple’s continued infringement. Motorola will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its R&D and intellectual property, which are critical to the company’s business.”

Apple has yet to respond.