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New ITC complaint leverages 8 of Motorola's patents

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) has made it pretty clear that it wants to try to ban all of the top Android phonemakers off the market.  Google Inc. (GOOG) has vowed to fight back, using the treasure trove of patents from its recent acquisition Motorola Mobility to help protect its partners.  Google was seeking a ban on Apple's iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers to counter a potential Android ban.

Thus far that protection scheme didn't work out so well, as Google-owned Motorola Mobility and Apple had their suits/counter-suits twice tossed from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).  In fact, so far federal courts have proven relatively retiscent to ban products from either side.

So Motorola Mobility's latest legal salvo -- a 50 page complaint [PDF] with 187 exhibits, pertaining to eight patents -- instead hopes to sway the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban imports of Apple's products, an approach that Apple successfully used to ban shipments of top Android phonemaker HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) earlier in the year.

The new suit targets:
  • iPod Touch
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4S
  • iPad2
  • "the new Apple iPad (aka the iPad3)
  • Mac Pro
  • iMac
  • Mac Mini
  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Air
It demands satisfaction in the form of a resolution within 15 months and a court-order "excluding entry into the United States of wireless communications devices, portable music and data processing devices, computers, and components thereof that infringe."

As Apple manufacturers all its products outside the U.S., this means, basically, a complete ban of all Apple's products.

Apple products
Google is seeking to ban virtually all Apple's devices [Image Source: Apple]

The lawsuit leverages eight patents:
  • No. 5,883,580, "Geographic-Temporal Significant Messaging"
  • No. 5,922,047 "Apparatus, Method and System for Multimedia Control and Communication"
  • No. 6,425,002 "Apparatus and Method for Handling Dispatching Messages for Various Applications of a Communication Device"
  • No. 6,493,673 "Markup Language for Interactive Services And Methods Thereof"
  • No. 6,983,370 "System For Providing Continuity Between Messaging Clients And Method Therefor"
  • No. 7,007,064 "Method And Apparatus For Obtaining And Managing Wirelessly Communicated Content"
  • No. 7,383,983 "System And Method For Managing Content Between Devices In Various Domains"
A couple of quick thoughts on the patents:
  1. They appear not to be standards patents -- e.g. Motorola Mobility's standard 3G/4G fodder.  This means that they are likely not subject to "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) licensing requirements, something that has plagued Google's past attempts to litigate against Apple.  In other words, Apple and Google are now fighting on a level playing field.
  2. The patents -- much like Apples -- are often rather ambiguous/nebulous in terms of describing there invention.  Given the broad descriptions (e.g. the one patent appears to be describing all forms of geo-tagged communication), it may be hard for Apple to escape from being found in infringement, must as Android has struggled to escape Apple's vague and overly broad patents.

WWIII is upon us in the patent world -- the dying Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs wish for "thermonuclear" legal war has come to fruition.  

Thermonuclear war
Steve Jobs dying wish of "thermonuclear war" with Android has been fully realized.

It's possible that only a handful of products will be banned, but as Apple and Google step up their legal barrages, it's also quite possible that most Android and Apple devices could eventually become subject to a ban -- an outcome that one would expect -- or at least hope -- would lead to a broad cross-licensing pact à la Apple and Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) "special arrangement".

One thing's for sure, though.  Google isn't about to roll over and die or let the same happen to its partners.  It is determined to fight Apple's efforts to the bitter end.

Sources: Groklaw [1], [2]

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RE: GO Google
By Schadenfroh on 8/21/2012 7:49:41 PM , Rating: 3
Since The Patent War is spreading well beyond tablets / phones...

Could you imagine the unrest if Google or Samsung managed to get Xbox Live shutdown to counter Microsoft's patent trolling?

How about if they had to disable broadcasts to all of those Motorola cable boxes that drive Comcast over a patent infringement?

RE: GO Google
By StoveMeister on 8/22/2012 3:03:55 AM , Rating: 1
Since The Patent War is spreading well beyond tablets / phones...

I'm a bit worried for our American friends.
It looks like between Apple, Samsung and Google, you guys may have to get used to dumb phones, while the rest of the world laps up Apple/Android's assorted goodness.

Since Apple has managed to win the patent suits they have been won to date over there, there is every chance this suit will also succeed. And the likelihood of reform of patent laws (when lawyers write the laws and lobby for them) is pretty damn slim.

The world may, yet again, be divided along lines of "have" vs "have-not". But America may end up on the have-not side for a change

RE: GO Google
By retrospooty on 8/22/2012 7:42:01 AM , Rating: 3
Thats a bit sensationalistic. The worst that would happen is a short term ban while ROM release is made that infringes the patents in question. Even that is highly unlikely. Most of this crap will get dismissed.

RE: GO Google
By retrospooty on 8/22/2012 7:43:29 AM , Rating: 2
"while ROM release is made that changes the funtcion that infringes the patents in question.

grrr, no edit.

RE: GO Google
By StoveMeister on 8/23/2012 2:30:41 AM , Rating: 2
Thats a bit sensationalistic. <snip> Most of this crap will get dismissed.

I'd like to agree with you, but haven't seen a lot of common-sense in the way patent law is operated in the USA.
These patents seem on the face of it to have at least as much validity as the ones Apple has been wielding in their lawsuits.
For Apple to put out a ROM that doesn't infringe may be challenging. At first glance it looks as if at least Siri and Facetime would bite the dust, and that's before looking too deep

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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