updated 12:58 pm EDT, Sat August 18, 2012
Suit seeks sales ban over Siri, other features
Motorola Mobility announced today that it had filed a new patent infringement suit against Apple at the US International Trade Commission. The suit, as Bloomberg details, alleges that Apple's Siri digital assistant feature, among other features, violates Motorola Mobility patents. The company, purchased by Google in May of this year, is seeking a ban on US imports of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers, essentially Apple's entire product line.
Reportedly none of the patents involved in the newest claim are standards-essential; that is, none of them are so widely used in industry as to be subject to FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) guidelines. Instead, Motorola's suit claims infringement of seven patents the company holds on location reminders, email notification, and phone/video players.
Motorola representatives claim that they have been trying to resolve the dispute with Apple without resorting to litigation but have been stymied by "Apple's unwillingness to work out a license."
Apple and Motorola have existing counter-claims in the USITC. Apple has said that Motorola Mobility is making unreasonable demands, and any licensing fees Motorola demand for their standards-essential patents in the initial complaint aren't fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND). Motorola is asking for a USITC import ban as a result of the infringement. No hearing dates have been scheduled, and the complaint isn't publicly available.
This new filing marks a new phase in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Motorola, which is itself part of a larger struggle between Apple and the assorted makers of smartphones running Google's Android operating system. Apple contends that Android is based on stolen intellectual property, and the company appears dedicated to pushing Android out of the market or at least extracting significant penalties from Android phone manufacturers.
Meanwhile, Apple has suffered some setbacks in the patent sphere. In April, the International Trade Commission ruled that the iPhone maker had infringed on one of four patents Motorola had leveled, covering a Wi-Fi implementation method.