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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 Tony Swash on 8/22/2012 12:58:34 PM , Rating: -1
because we all know that wikipedia is the canonical source for accurate information...................sigh.

I notice you don't actually challenge any of the material on the Wikipedia page in question merely imply that it is somehow false and therefore the unpalatable truth - that Googlerola started the patent war with Apple - can somehow be dismissed.

Given your claim that the material Inked too cannot be trusted care to share your contrary evidence and sources?

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
  - Philip K. Dick

RE: GO Google
By retrospooty on 8/22/2012 1:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
Why Tony? Why must you distort facts like this?

It's a well known fact that Apple was preparing to sue. They were vocal about it. Motorola, Google, Samsung, everyone was aware of it. This was done in retaliation to Apple's claims and everyone knows it. The actual date it was files only shows who's lawyers got the case filed the fastest.

Whatever though, your reality is fully distorted enough to actually think Apple is right in this and all matters so its pointless to debate anything with you.

RE: GO Google
By momorere on 8/22/2012 1:16:00 PM , Rating: 2
Wikipedia is 1000x more reliable and trusted than 99.9% of the links you provide as "facts" when it comes to anything crApple. No one really cares who "started" it. We only care that crApple goes down for trying to dictate all things electronic.

RE: GO Google
By mocyd on 8/22/2012 1:37:55 PM , Rating: 4
that Googlerola started the patent war with Apple - can somehow be dismissed.

Oh come now, Tony, Googlerola started the patent war? Motorola started it my friend. Even if you can pretend that Apple wasn't telling the world that it was going to sue every Android maker on the planet prior to Motorola's suit, it's still an utter fabrication to say "Googlerola" started it. Be factual. Motorola started it. Google stepped in to salvage Motorola's IP and put it to good use.

RE: GO Google
By Iaiken on 8/22/2012 4:31:15 PM , Rating: 1
I notice you don't actually challenge any of the material on the Wikipedia page in question merely imply that it is somehow false and therefore the unpalatable truth - that Googlerola started the patent war with Apple - can somehow be dismissed.

Except you conveniently forget to look into why Motorola was going to court with Apple and where they filed. By the time Motorola sued Apple, Apple was already suing Nokia, HTC, and had tilted it's hand in hinting that they were preparing to sue Samsung and Motorola via preliminary filings in several international courts (Australia, Germany, Netherlands, etc).

Rather than let Apple drag them to a jurisdiction that is friendly towards patent plaintiffs (California, Texas, or Florida), Motorola decided to drag Apple to a jurisdiction that is just flat out unfriendly towards both parties with regards to patent lawsuits (US District Court in Illinois). The objective became forcing Apple into counter-suing in a jurisdiction where their chances of winning was slim to none.

Motorola had no real intention of winning; victory would ultimately be defined by successfully forcing Apple into an environment where they would almost certainly both lose their respective cases. Anything short of Motorola losing their case and Apple winning their counter-suit constituted a victory for Motorola since they would then be free to operate without Apple breathing down their neck or blocking their products from the market. This happened when Posner threw the case out with prejudice so that neither party could re-file and any appeal would have to be elevated to the supreme court (which has better things to do than negotiate trade agreements).

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