Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
Two weeks ago, Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. filed a second lawsuit against Apple, Inc. over allegedly infringing on six Motorola Mobility technology patents. The Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone 4s and iCloud service were both “infringing products” identified in this latest suit.
The fact that Google, maker of the Android mobile operating system, is nearing completion of the acquisition of Motorola Mobility only adds fuel to an already inflammatory disagreement between the two technology companies.
On Friday, February 3, the Guardian reported a German court granted an injunction against iPhone sales in that country, as well as “a separate ruling over its ‘iCloud’ service [which] means it might be forced to turn off ‘push’ email for users in the country.” This second ruling means that “German iPhone owners will still be able to access email, but the BlackBerry-like function that sends new messages automatically to the phone will be unavailable.” Apple is appealing both rulings, though its immediate response was to pull both the iPhone and the iPad from Germany’s online Apple store; both products have since been restored.
In Apple’s defense, the Guardian goes on to cite an Apple spokesperson as saying, “Apple appealed this ruling because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms, despite having declared it an industry standard patent seven years ago.”
The first patent suit Motorola Mobility filed against the brainchild of the late Steve Jobs came in October 2010, in which it cites eighteen patents that several of Apple’s products allegedly infringe on.
These allegations reflect poorly on Apple, which is known for its ability to develop devices using cutting-edge technology well ahead of its competitors. It will also be interesting to see how the relations between Apple and Google deteriorate in the months and years to come, seeing as Google will soon be taking over Motorola Mobility and, more importantly, the patents in question in the past few weeks’ legal proceedings.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Google would gain ownership of more than 17,000 Motorola patents for mobile technology. That would help Google and smartphone makers that use its Android technology—including HTC, Samsung and LG—defend against patent infringement lawsuits filed by rivals such as Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp.”
With legal protection to freely develop its own mobile device using the patented Motorola technology, will Google finally be able to relax the grip that Apple has had on the cell phone market?