Google's Motorola takes on Apple
Google's subsidiary Motorola Mobility has lodged a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC), seeking to ban several Apple devices from being imported into the US by citing that Apple has violated its patents. The complaint was filed on Friday but the details of the complaint were not made public until after the weekend. In the ITC complaint, Motorola lists the following seven patents which it says Apple has infringed on:
- No. 5,883,580, titled "Geographic-Temporal Significant Messaging," which issued on March 16, 1999
- No. 5,922,047 , titled "Apparatus, Method and System for Multimedia Control and Communication," which is sued on July 13, 1999
- No. 6,425,002, titled "Apparatus and Method for Handling Dispatching Messages for Various Applications of a Communication Device," which issued on July 23, 2002
- No. 6,493,673, titled "Markup Language for Interactive Services And Methods Thereof", which issued on December 10, 2001
- No. 6,983,370, titled "System For Providing Continuity Between Messaging Clients And Method Therefor," which issued on January 3, 2006
- No. 7,007,064, titled "Method And Apparatus For Obtaining And Managing Wirelessly Communicated Content," which issued on February 28, 2006
- No. 7,383,983 , titled "System And Method For Managing Content Between Devices In Various Domains," which issued on June 10, 2008
The legal action is seen by some observers as Google striking back at Apple for the design and patent legal actions it has taken against phone makers who use Google's Android operating system. Motorola Mobility is asking for an import ban on all Apple equipment "which utilize wireless communication technologies to manage various messages and content". This is not the first time that Motorola Mobility have taken legal action against Apple; in October 2010, Motorola filed complaints with the ITC and US district courts alleging patent infringement.
Meanwhile, Google's Director for Public Policy, Pablo Chavez, has criticised the patent system of the United States, saying that Google doubts the current state of affairs is conducive to innovation or the needs of consumers. According to a report by CNET, Chavez was speaking at the Technology Policy Institute's conference in Aspen, Colorado when he said "we think that these patent wars are not helpful to consumers. They're not helpful to the marketplace. They're not helpful to innovation."
He also pointed out that he thinks software patents are different from patents in areas such as medicine and that the company is looking to "brainstorm longer-term solutions." Chavez's comments came as a reaction to an accusation by News Corp. executive Rick Lane who alleged Google was acting anti-competitively by having its Motorola Mobility subsidiary attack Apple for infringing its patents.
Google and its subsidiaries are also involved in other patent-related lawsuits in the US and Europe, and Google itself recently won a legal battle against Oracle involving Java-related patents.