Motorola brings its first patent suit against Apple as a Google subsidiary

Motorola logoOn Friday evening, Motorola Mobility, a Google subsidiary since May of this year, filed a patent infringement suit against Apple with the International Trade Commission. It said Apple had infringed on 7 of its patents in creating the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod Touch, and Motorola is seeking an import ban on those products to the US.

While the paperwork filed by Motorola with the ITC was not immediately available, WSJ is reporting that none of the patents Motorola is asserting are currently considered standards-essential, meaning Motorola may have a fair chance at getting its requested import ban if the ITC decides Apple has in fact infringed. Patents that are not standards-essential may be licensed or not licensed at the holding company's will, whereas patents that qualify as standards-essential require holding companies to license them at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) prices. While judicial authorities have been called upon to decide what constitutes a FRAND patent, there is no legal precedent that defines what fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory means in every case.

“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 to Bloomberg. The publication also noted that in a previous patent battle with Apple, the Cupertino company said that Motorola's demands for licensing fees are unreasonable.

In that previous patent dispute, the ITC ruled in April that Apple had infringed on one of the four patents asserted by Motorola against Apple. The ITC will make a final decision next week on what, if any, consequences Apple may suffer for that infringement. But even if Apple comes out on top next week, it will still have to look forward to the new suit—yet another locking of horns at the ITC.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Apple, Google, legal action, Motorola

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