Apple just got a taste of its own medicine. After accusing Samsung of infringing on design patents for the iPhone and iPad, Apple is now being accused of doing the exact same thing to another phone company.
Motorola Mobility filed a complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission on Friday.
The full complaint is not yet available to be viewed, but Bloomberg is reporting that Motorola is claiming that Apple infringed on seven of its patents, on features that include its location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players.
Motorola is also seeking a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac computers, as they are currently built in Asia.
"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 said in a statement emailed to VatorNews.
Apple vs. Motorola
It should not be a surprise that Motorola is accusing Apple of violating its patents. The two companies have a long history of battling it out, going back all the way to 2010, with each side claiming that the other violated its patents multiple times.
Motorola first filed a complaint with the ITC against Apple in October 2010, accusing it of violating six patents. Apple then filed a counter claim, accusing Motorola of violating three of its patents, though a judge in January 2012 ruled against Apple in these claims.
A decision on Motorola’s original claim is expected in less than a week, though a preliminarily ruling by the judge already ruled that Apple did violate one of Motorola’s patents.
The patent is standard-essential patent, though, which makes an import ban unlikely. Even if Motorola were to win that case, it would not have any effect on the iPhone 4S, the iPad 4G, or the iPhone 5.
Google purchased Motorola in August 2011 for $12.5 billion, its largest acquisition ever, and it was clear that the purchase was made so that Google could strengthen its patent portfolio, specifically to ward off threats from companies like Apple. The deal resulted in Google gaining more than 17,000 new patents from Motorola.
“Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” Google CEO Larry Page wrote on the company’s blog at the time.
This is the first claim filed by Motorola against Apple since being purchased by Google.
Things have not gone smoothly since the merger between Google and Motorola was completed in May of 2012, and you have to wonder if that has anything to do with Motorola continuing its battle with Apple.
Google recently announced that it would be cutting 20% of Motorola’s workforce and closing, or consolidating, roughly one-third of its 90 facilities.
Motorola has also seen its market share erode over the past few years. In October 2009, it was the top device manufacturer, with 24.1% of the market. By June of 2012, that number had whittled down to 11.7%, putting the company in a distant fourth place.
Perhaps instead of constantly trying to take down Apple, Motorola should be spending its time and resources fixing what is ailing the company.
Apple could not be reached for comment.
(Image source: gizmodo.com)