Motorola suffers major setback in FRAND patent case against Apple
Motorola has been issued a formal warning by the European Commission for potential FRAND patent abuse against Apple in a case underway in Germany. The EU Commission has formed a preliminary view that Google-owned company’s case against Apple violates the EU’s antitrust rules and that its misuse ‘could ultimately harm consumers.’ The development is a major blow to Google, which purchased Motorola for $12 billion in large part to use Motorola’s patents as a defense against Apple’s legal attacks on its Android partners.
Motorola blocked from having appeal dismissed outright
In the ever-more-complicated legal wrangles between Apple and Google (through its subsidiary Motorola), Apple has won the right to proceed with an attempt to appeal a case between Apple and Motorola in which the iPhone maker was suing Motorola for failing to adhere to FRAND guidelines, while Motorola was suing Apple for alleged infringement of standards-essential patents (SEPs) it holds. Rather than rule on the merits of each company's argument, US District Court Judge Barbara Crabb surprisingly dismissed both complaints outright.
Ruling more in line with Microsoft claims, well short of $4 billion request
US District Court Judge James Robart of the Western District of Washington has issued a critical ruling in the Motorola Mobile versus Microsoft patent lawsuit. The judge has decreed that Motorola Mobility is entitled to nearly $1.8 million per year from Microsoft for use of its standards-essential H.264 video playback and 802.11 Wi-Fi patents, a far cry from the $4 billion annually Motorola and its parent company Google demanded at the beginning of the lawsuit.
Benchmark shows 'Google X' device running on Key Lime Pie
The Motorola X phone may have appeared in smartphone benchmarks, if a screenshot is confirmed as true. The image, showing the phone as running Android 5.0.1 comes at the same time as other rumors suggesting that the Key Lime Pie version of the mobile operating system may not make it in time for a reveal at Google I/O.
Stay likely indefinite, will result in lift of push injunction
The Karlsruhe, Germany appeals court has ruled as expected, staying an Apple versus Motorola Mobility patent battle over the Google-owned push notification patent. According to the official announcement by the court about the stay, both parties agreed to the action, with Apple lowering its own expectations for a complete dismissal, and Google changing its position on the matter after an appellate hearing. Today's ruling will ultimately result in restoration of push notifications to Apple iCloud email users in Germany.
CEO decries fragility of modern devices in conference call
During Google's quarterly earnings conference call, CEO Larry Page addressed common problems with smartphones -- poor battery life, phone failure when exposed to water, and damage when dropped. Talking about these problems, the CEO suggested that Motorola Mobility's newest phone line currently in production would be close to unbreakable. "When you drop your phone, it shouldn't shatter," Page said.
Motorola design chief pushing for move away from bigger screens
Motorola is concentrating on making smartphones that forgoes the larger size trend in favor of improving quality, according to company design chief Jim Wicks. The first devices designed post-Google acquisition will apparently follow the doctrine of "better is better" instead of "bigger is better," as seen in other recent smartphone announcements.
Says parties have 'no interest' in quick settlements
Apple and Google-owned Motorola Mobility are only using lawsuits as a business strategy and have no interest in solving their Florida patent lawsuit, says US District Judge Robert Scola. "The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end," he writes in a Tuesday court order discovered by Bloomberg. The case includes over 180 claims connected to 12 patents, and the two parties are even contesting the meaning of over 100 terms.
Apple leads in Smartphone OEM market share rankings
Android is losing market share to iOS in the US smartphone market, according to the most recent ComScore results. In a three-month period ending in February, Android went from 53.7 percent of the market to 51.7 percent, a drop of 2 percent, while iOS gained 3.9 percent from the 35-percent share in the previous 3 months, hitting 38.9 percent.
Ruling helps Samsung, Motorola cases
Germany's Federal Patent Court has ruled that all claims of Apple's slide-to-unlock patent are invalid as granted, according to FOSS Patents. The court has moreover ruled that none of the 14 amendments Apple has proposed can be used. The decision comes after a full-day hearing in front of five judges, led by Judge Vivian Sredl; two of the judges are said to have come from an engineering background.
Motorola X Phone buzz continues to build with new render appearing
A new render of the rumored Motorola X Phone has appeared courtesy of GSM Arena. Instead of a quad-core Tegra 4i processor as previously thought, the latest round of speculation purports that the device will run a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. It may also carry IP57 certification, like the Sony Xperia Z, meaning that it will be both dust and water resistant.
One patent remains to be heard by ITC in this battery of complaints
A change of heart by an administrative law judge with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has resulted in a ruling that Microsoft has not violated a patent owned by Google's Motorola Mobility when it created the Xbox 360 video gaming console. The ruling by Judge David Shaw is a reversal of his own previous decision in April 2012, where he declared that Microsoft had infringed four patents and did not infringe a fifth. The ruling follows the unusual return of the matter by the ITC to the judge in June of 2012.
BlackBerry also files amicus brief, takes no side in the conflict
Two of the industry's heaviest hitters on Wednesday filed amicus curae ("friend of the court") briefs with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in support of Apple's position in its appeal over the dismissal last year of a two-way lawsuit with Motorola over patents and FRAND licensing. Microsoft and Intel, who were not involved in the original case, have filed briefs with the court supporting Apple's position that companies should not be allowed to sue over possible infringement of FRAND-eligible patent use.
Remark made in appeal brief before court in Apple v. Motorola suit
After the precedent-setting dismissal of the Apple versus Motorola case last year by Judge Posner in the United States Court for the Northern District of Illinois, both parties were expected to head to appeals court with the matter. Apple filed its brief in late November, and Google and Motorola Mobility filed its initial brief yesterday. Google is now -- for the first time -- declaring that Apple is an "unwilling licensee" of the patents that Judge Posner declared were standards-essential. Therefore, the Cupertino manufacturer wasn't subject to the protections afforded by it under litigation requirements for patents mandated to be subject to fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing.
Android devices offer dual-sim, TV reception options
Motorola has announced a pair of new Android Jelly Bean smartphones reaching the Brazilian market in the near future. The Razr D1 and Razr D3 a value and mid-ranged handset respectively, appear to be taking a number of design aspects from the Droid Razr M, though with smaller 3.5-inch and 4-inch touchscreen displays.
Unknown Motorola handset makes surprise appearance
An unannounced Motorola handset has surfaced via Vietnamese website Tinhte.vn. Carrying new logo-only branding, the device may be one of the first devices developed in conjunction with its new masters, Google. The device is also clearly marked ‘Motorola Confidential Property’ making its appearance that much more mysterious.
X Phone said to house Tegra 4i processor, 4.7-inch screen
A new image and specifications of a rumored Motorola handset have appeared online, days before Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S 4. The new details allege the Google-backed X Phone as a device using an Nvidia Tegra 4i processor, a quad-core chip running at 2.3GHz and using ARM's Cortex-A9 architecture.
Loss of 10-percent of workforce planned following earlier reductions
Google is laying off 1,200 employees from Motorola Mobility, in an effort to bring the hardware maker into profitability via restructuring. The loss of 10-percent of its workforce is a continuation of reductions announced last summer, adding to the 4,000 jobs, a fifth of staff, that the company previously said it will remove.
Patent involves combining map data with a database
A German court has revealed it is inclined to ban Google Maps in the country, as part of ongoing patent litigation. Judge Dr Matthias Zigann of the Munich I Regional Court told Google and Motorola Mobility that it is currently looking at holding them liable for infringing a Microsoft patent, as the patent covers a “big idea” and deserves a "construction commensurate with said big idea."
ComScore report emphasizes continuing Apple, Samsung dominance
The latest marketshare reports from analyst firm ComScore are out, and since the end of October Apple's iOS share of the US smartphone market jumped by 3.5 percentage points, while Samsung gained only 1.9 percent. The leaders grew at the expense of HTC and Motorola. From an operating system perspective, Google and BlackBerry took 1.3 and 1.9 percentage point losses respectively, part of what gave Apple and Samsung their gains.
Google CFO says Google is yet to exhaust inherited product pipeline
Google CFO and Senior VP Patrick Pichette has admitted in an interview at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference that Motorola’s current smartphone lineup lacks the ‘wow’ factor. According to Pichette, the transition to the new generation of truly Google-inspired Motorola designs is still up to five months away. When Google finalized its purchase of Motorola last May, largely for its patent portfolio, it also inherited an 18-month product pipeline that it hasn’t been able to influence much beyond the software.
Both Apple and Microsoft claim Google not following FTC decree
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published submissions it received regarding the standards-essential patent abuse case against Google. Of note, both Apple and Microsoft claim that Google still has not retracted all of Motorola Mobile's complaints it inherited against the pair, despite the search engine saying it would -- as well as the agreement with the FTC mandating it would do so. Besides just the US refusal, Google is also defying the decree in German courts, specifically refusing to retract cases against Microsoft, despite the company being a "willing licensee" of the standards-essential patents at stake in the trials.
Apple's handsets three times less problem-prone than competition
A new study by mobile device repair company FixYa examined a key factor in cell phone usage rarely able to be judged by buyers at the time of sale, but one of the most important in ongoing loyalty and value: reliability. From almost three quarters of a million problem reports, Apple's smartphones overall (and the iPhone 5 in particular) were found to be nearly three times more reliable than its nearest competition, Samsung. Google-owned Motorola's phones scored the worst of the four major brands examined.
Android tablets reach 41 percent of ad impressions
Apple's dominance in the mobile industry became less pronounced in 2012, according to tracking data compiled by mobile ad network Millennial Media. Millennial notes, for instance, that while the iPhone continued to generate the most ad impressions amongst phones, growing 72 percent year-over-year to a 15.59 percent share, Samsung's Galaxy S series grew 182 percent to hit a 4.24 percent share, pushing BlackBerry Curve phones down to third place at 3.91 percent.
Google device could apply pressure to Samsung, Apple
The rumored X Phone by Motorola, owned by Google, has been called a "game changer" that could top the smartphone market. Comments allegedly made by Hugh Bradlow, chief technology officer for Telstra, to other senior mobile staff suggests the smartphone is a "breakthrough" that can "put pressure on Samsung and Apple."
Parts of three patents involved are 'indefinite' and unenforceable
Juge James Robart has greatly cut down a patent lawsuit brought by Motorola Mobility against Microsoft. The judge found this afternoon that 13 Motorola claims encompassing three of its H.264 video playback patents are invalid -- greatly weakening Google's case. Motorola had been seeking as much as $4 billion per year for its patents, while Microsoft believed that Motorola Mobile and Google were ignoring previous commitments to license the patents on a fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) basis, and says that it only owes $1 million per year for use of the patents.
BlackBerry, Nokia, Motorola cede ground
Together Apple and Samsung seized about 103 percent of 2012 cellphone industry profits, and 101 percent in the fourth quarter, according to Canaccord Genuity estimates. Breaking down the 2012 figure, Apple claimed 69 percent, while Samsung took 34. A total greater than 100 is possible because of operating losses at companies like BlackBerry, Motorola, and Nokia.
Apple claims defense, counterclaim options hampered
In a court filing that Apple calls "not your typical motion," Apple is seeking Google be compelled to comply with a subpoena from August. Apple is expecting data from Google and Motorola to assist it in defending itself against patent claims by Google-owned Motorola Mobile as well as assisting it in its own claims against Motorola's set-top box group, now owned by Arris Group.
Filing claims Motorola should be held to Google's license standards
Google has suffered a setback in the next step of its federal case regarding Microsoft's potential abuse of the H.264 video codec. The head of the MPEG-LA licensing group, Lawrence Horn, declared in a court briefing that Google's agreement with the group and monetary restrictions on licensing fees applies to companies it acquired -- meaning Motorola's claim of Microsoft's patent abuse likely won't net the search engine hundreds of millions of dollars per year, as it has requested from Microsoft. Motorola, as a subsidiary of Google, is held to the same licensing standards as originally signed by Google in 2004.
Move forced by settlement-induced FTC Consent Order against Google
As expected, following the admonishment that it received from the Federal Trade Commission, Google and Motorola Mobility have moved to withdraw its complaints against Microsoft relating to the standards-essential H.264 video compression patent with US International Trade Commission. Google is seemingly obeying the terms set forth with the FTC that were made public at the end of last week.
Joint statement says infringement should lead to bans 'very rarely'
In a joint statement issued Tuesday, both the US Department of Justice and the US Patent and Trademark Office have issued a new policy that argues that sales bans on products that may or may not infringe on "standards-essential" patents (SEPs) should not be allowed except in very rare and specific circumstances. The ruling joins with a previous statement from the Federal Trade Commission, and is intended to influence both the ITC and specific abusing companies, such as Google.
Could leave door open for import ban against Apple devices
Late on Monday, Motorola Mobility filed a petition hoping to keep a complaint against Apple with the US International Trade Commission alive, says FOSS Patents. Earlier, an administrative law judge had ruled that a patent covering the deactivation of a touchscreen when lifting a phone to the ear was invalid, due to an existing Motorola patent making it non-novel. On remand, though, Judge Thomas Pender said there was indeed an infringement by Apple, and ruled that the ITC's domestic industry requirement had been met. If Motorola can convince the ITC to reject the earlier invalidation, it may leave the door open for a future import ban against some Apple devices.
Razr M HD would pack Snapdragon S4 Plus chip
Motorola is rumored to be working on an HD variant of its Droid Razr M handset for release next year. The company has made no announcements regarding a Razr M HD, but rumors suggest that the device would pack significantly updated internals, as well as an improved battery. The updated Razr M would still serve as a mid-level handset, with a 720p display even as other manufacturers are moving toward 1080p displays.
Users report long downloads on Android update
Owners of the original Droid Razr from Motorola have reportedly begun receiving notifications that their devices are ready for a software update that will bring them to Android 4.1.2. The update to Jelly Bean will bring improved functionality, as well as changes to the user interface for Android's notifications system and several apps. The update is not proceeding smoothly, though, as some users are reporting difficulties in getting it to install.
UK court invalidates Motorola patent, hands win to Microsoft
A High Court judge in England has ruled that a key Motorola patent being used against Microsoft is invalid, which should result in the lifting of an injunction against Apple. The Motorola patent, for syncing messages across many mobile devices, forms the basis of an injunction that prevents Apple's iCloud push notification from being used in Germany. Apple is likely to ask for a hearing on staying the ban pending the outcome of any appeals. Judge Richard Arnold not only ruled the patent invalid, but said it should be revoked, since it threatens many other modern services.
Google picks up Samsung ad exec
As part of Google's ongoing effort to revivify Motorola and make it a major player in the smartphone and mobile device sector once more, Google has hired Brian Wallace, the vice president of strategic marketing at Samsung's US phone unit. Wallace will fill a similar position at Motorola to that he held with Samsung, heading up consumer marketing and spearheading ad campaigns. Most recently, Wallace helped develop for Samsung the ads that mocked Apple fans waiting in line for the iPhone 5. Those ads, according to web video tracker Visible Measures, were among the most popular tech ads of the year.
Motorola to take aim at Samsung, Apple with Google backing
Google-owned Motorola is said to be preparing a pair of flagship Android devices meant to take on both Apple and Samsung in the smartphone and tablet segments. The so-called "X phone" and "X tablet" are part of Google's plan for Motorola to return to prominence in order to ensure the continuing health Google's Android platform, which Samsung has come to dominate. The X phone is expected to debut some time next year, and Motorola would begin work on the X tablet after the phone is completed, according to sources.
Google gains 15.7 percent stake in ARRIS in already-approved sale
Communications technology company ARRIS Group and Google today jointly announced that ARRIS and Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility have entered into an agreement under which ARRIS will acquire the Motorola Home business from Motorola Mobility for $2.35 billion in a combined cash and stock transaction. The sale has already been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
Pender finds Moto proximity sensor patent invalid
In a preliminary ruling, the US International Trade Commission has again found that Apple's iPhone did not infringe on a Motorola patent regarding proximity sensors, another win for the Cupertino company in a string of almost-exclusively favorable ITC rulings. Judge Thomas Pender ruled again that the Motorola patent, now owned by Google, is invalid. The ruling came as a part of an appeal against his earlier August decision, which covered both the sensor patent and several 3G-related ones. The ruling is preliminary, and will be reviewed by a full panel.
InMobi sees smartphones outpacing tablets in growth
Mobile ad network InMobi released its latest Insights Report today, finding that devices running Apple's iOS platform retain the lead in mobile ad impressions, while Android devices are closing the gap. InMobi's analysis found Apple with a clear lead at 46 percent of ad impressions in the most recent quarter, up 4.1 percentage points from the previous measure. Android devices, though, grew 5.4 points in the quarter, and now account for 43.6 percent of market share by ad impressions.
Facebook image warns readers away from slow S III downloads
Motorola has attacked the Samsung Galaxy S III in a campaign to advertise the Droid RAZR HD. Updates to the company's website as well as its Facebook page compare the RAZR's various features against the Samsung smartphone, including comparisons of the build quality, speed and battery life between the two handsets.
Google expected to be forced to license FRAND patents
According to sources close to the Federal Trade Commission's negotiations with Google, the search engine could reach a deal this week regarding the use and licensing of Google-owned patents. Little information is available in regards to the terms of the settlement, and discussions are still ongoing, but the final settlement is likely to provide Google an avenue to continue legal cases involving its patents -- with the exception of those acquired with the purchase of Motorola Mobility. If true, the settlement could mean a major victory for both Apple and Microsoft.
Google may also close South Korean Motorola offices
Google's makeover and restructuring of the assets it acquired when purchasing Motorola Mobility continues apace, with the search giant reportedly considering offers from two firms to purchase Motorola Home Business, which sells set-top boxes and equipment to cable providers. According to sources close to the negotiations, Google is looking to get about $2 billion for the unit, which it is selling in order to narrow Motorola's focus toward higher-end smartphones, but the deal has been complicated due to Google's desire to retain equity and the unit's patents. Meanwhile, Motorola's South Korean offices are said to be closing next year, with the company shedding about 540 jobs.
Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Stratosphere offered for free
Sunday will see the beginning of RadioShack's buy-one-get-one-free deal on a number of Android phones from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. Customers purchasing the Galaxy SIII from Samsung or Motorola's Droid Razr 4G LTE will have the option to get one of four other smartphones for free. The BOGO deal is also compatible with RadioShack's existing $10 back in-store or online holiday purchase deal.
Amicus brief filed with Apple versus Motorola appeal court
The US Federal Trade Commission filed an amicus curae (friend of the court) brief with the US Court of Appeals on Wednesday, stating that it believes that Motorola Mobility should not be allowed to stop the sale of Apple products that are accused of infringing on its standards-essential patents related to wireless communication. The Court of Appeals is examining Judge Richard Posner's recent decision to dismiss simultaneous patent infringement cases between the pair of manufacturers.
Update brings Google Now, Voice Search, Project Butter
As promised late last week, Motorola has begun rolling out the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for its Droid Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD. Owners of the two Motorola handsets should begin receiving notifications of the availability of an over-the-air update either today or over the next few days, as Verizon is making the upgrade available in phases. Users can check for upgrade availability by visiting the System Updates tab under the About Phone settings option.
Judge Robard sees Financial relief adequate to solve the licensing issue
Judge James Robard, overseeing the Motorola Mobility versus Microsoft patent trial in the Western District of Washington court, ruled Friday that Motorola cannot obtain a sales injunction in Microsoft products because they may infringe on standards-essential patents. Robard left the door open to financial damages for the Google-owned Motorola Mobility, ruling that "as a matter of logic, the impending license agreement will adequately remedy Motorola as a matter of law."
Update to bring Google Now, ISIS
Owners of the Motorola Droid Razr HD and Razr Maxx HD will be getting an OS update some time next week that will bring Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to their handsets. This according to Verizon, which published an announcement today saying that the update would be pushed out in phases. The announcement comes shortly after the Droid Razr M started receiving its update to Jelly Bean earlier this month.
Settlement covers Google-branded, Motorola handsets only
Google has settled in a patent lawsuit with touch technology company Immersion over infringement of the latter's IP in haptic touchscreen technology. The lawsuit has taken nine months to close, and predates Google's ownership of Motorola, and has ended with the search giant licensing the patents in question, compensating for previous Motorola device shipments, and intending to pay for patent usage in smartphones developed by the company in the future.
Apple on third promised deadline
Apple has failed to supply the iOS 6 source code as promised, Google-owned Motorola has complained to the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In the lawsuit it is pursuing against Apple, Motorola says it needs the code to perform infringement analysis. The company first made a request for source code on May 30th, and specific iOS 6 demands on August 7th, October 25th, and November 6th, the last tagged with a request that Apple provide a "date certain." The new complaint notes that Apple has repeatedly promised to provide the code, but missed September 21st and November 9th deadlines it set; another one was recently set for November 30th.