It's getting hard to keep track of, isn't it? The way we hear it told, most of these patent disputes and overlaps in the mobile space used to be settled in quiet ways, mutually assured destruction-style, but lately there's a whole lot of nukes going off. Motorola is now suing Apple over a wide range of technology patents which it claims Apple is infringing on with its iPhone, iPad, "iTouch," and even some Macs. The company is leveling three complaints which include 18 patents on "early-stage innovations" by Motorola, covering a pretty wide swath of the mobile landscape, including WCDMA, GPRS, 802.11, antenna design, wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization. Outside of the devices, Apple's MobileMe and App Store services get called out specifically. At the end of its press release Motorola makes a very similar claim to the one Nokia made at the outset of its own lawyer salvo against Apple:
We have extensively licensed our industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, consisting of tens of thousands of patents in the U.S. and worldwide. After Apple's late entry into the telecommunications market, we engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license. We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple's continued infringement.
We'll of course be digging deeper as we get more info, and covering the blow by blow with perhaps just a little too much enthusiasm. Oh, and before you go, riddle us this: do you think this is a preemptive strike on Motorola's part, afraid of another Android-related lawsuit from Apple, or has Apple been holding off for precisely the threat this lawsuit represents? Or maybe Moto's still mad about that antenna thing? Perhaps we'll never know.
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Motorola Mobility Sues Apple for Patent Infringement

LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. – Oct. 6, 2010 – Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) today announced that its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, Inc., has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that Apple's iPhone, iPad, iTouch and certain Mac computers infringe Motorola patents. Motorola Mobility also filed patent infringement complaints against Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) in the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of Florida.

Overall, Motorola Mobility's three complaints include 18 patents, which relate to early-stage innovations developed by Motorola in key technology areas found on many of Apple's core products and associated services, including MobileMe and the App Store. The Motorola patents include wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization.

Motorola Mobility has requested that the ITC commence an investigation into Apple's use of Motorola's patents and, among other things, issue an Exclusion Order barring Apple's importation of infringing products, prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported, and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States. In the District Court actions, Motorola Mobility has requested that Apple cease using Motorola's patented technology and provide compensation for Apple's past infringement.

Kirk Dailey, corporate vice president of intellectual property at Motorola Mobility, said, "Motorola has innovated and patented throughout every cycle of the telecommunications industry evolution, from Motorola's invention of the cell phone to its development of premier smartphone products. We have extensively licensed our industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, consisting of tens of thousands of patents in the U.S. and worldwide. After Apple's late entry into the telecommunications market, we engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license. We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple's continued infringement. Motorola will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its R&D and intellectual property, which are critical to the company's business."

About Motorola
Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to mobile and wireline digital communication devices that provide compelling experiences, Motorola is leading the next wave of innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $22 billion in 2009. For more information, please visit www.motorola.com.

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