Motorola Wants iPhone, iPad Banned From Import Into US
Accuses Apple of seven counts of patent infringement
Google-owned Motorola Mobility has filed a complaint against Apple, accusing it of infringing seven patents used in the design of certain models of iPhone, iPad, iPod and iMac computers.
As a punitive measure, Motorola seeks a ban on import of these devices from Asia.
Motorola submitted a complaint to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Friday, alleging that Apple infringed its intellectual property related to location reminders, e-mail notifications, video playback and voice recognition.
None of these patents is standard-essential, which means Motorola is under no obligation to license them. In case Apple is found guilty, it faces a very real prospect of getting some of its devices banned from being imported into the country.
The two companies had previously failed to negotiate a licensing deal, with Apple calling Motorola’s demands “unreasonable”.
“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 Mobility said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.
Due to the changes in hardware, even if the ban comes into effect, it would not concern the iPhone 4S and the new iPad 4G, nor the widely-anticipated iPhone 5.
A decision on another Motorola complaint against Apple, filed in July, is expected this week. According to patent expert Florian Mueller, a preliminary ruling by an ITC judge held Apple to infringe only one of Motorola’s four asserted patents, related to Wi-Fi signals. Since it is a standard-essential patent, the case raises a whole set of competition issues.
Earlier this year, Apple filed its own patent-infringement case against Motorola Mobility with the ITC. In March, the commission upheld a judge’s determination that the handset manufacturer wasn’t infringing one Apple patent and that two other patents were invalid. Apple is appealing that decision.
Google completed its £8 billion takeover of Motorola Mobility in May, installing Dennis Woodside as the CEO. In July, the search giant revealed that it valued Motorola patent portfolio at £3.5 billion.
“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 in a blog post following the deal.
Apple is currently involved in a huge court battle against South Korean Samsung. Both companies are accusing each other of patent infringement, with potential $2.5 billion (£1.6bn) in damages at stake. The closing arguments are expected to be made on Tuesday, before the jury in US District Court in San Jose, California begins its deliberations.
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