This last Friday Google’s newly acquired Motorola Mobility unit filed a new law suit against Apple accusing them of numerous patent infringements. The case was filed with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC). Motorola will be seeking a ban on imports of nearly everything in Apple’s product portfolio. Any device that “(utilize(s) wireless communication technologies to mange various messages and content” is covered by this lawsuit. This does not just cover mobile devices though. This includes iPads, iPhones, iMacs, Macbooks and etc.
The International Trade Commission made the full complaint available for viewing online. That said, we can now review which seven patents Motorola is claiming Apple has infringed upon:
- The 580 patent (5,883,580) which relates to “selective call messaging devices that process messages logically for a user in the context of space and time.” It appears Motorola is claiming the iPhone 4 and 4S infringe upon this patent due to the location reminders function.
- The 047 patent (5,922,047) which describes a “control apparatus…for control over a plurality of media applications including telephony, video conferencing, analog video, digital video, and AC power line signaling.” Motorola is claiming every iPad and iPhone device infringes on this patent.
- The 002 patent (6,425,002) involves “message manager programs for accepting and dispatching messages, one or more application programs for handling and presenting messages; and one or more message client programs that receive messages from the message manager program and provides them to the application program. The message manager program accepts a registration from each message client program and sets rules, and message attributes to which the rules are to be applied for new messages.”
- The 370 patent (6,983,370) covers systems that enable continuity between messaging clients on multiple devices, which would seem to cover any application that keeps messages synced between devices. All Apple devices except the iPod line and Apple TV are allegedly violating this patent.
- The 673 patent (6,493,673) describes a method of providing interaction with a communications device using audible user input, which is converted into a text string. The patent also seems to describe a “prompt” (think “what can I help you with?”) that is delivered to the user audibly. It would appear this patent targets Siri.
- The 064 patent (7,007,064) describes wireless communication systems and how content is obtained and managed by wireless devices.
- The 983 patent (7,383,983) covers management of content between devices in different “domains.” It generally describes a system and method to play content on one device, pause or stop it, and then resume playback of the content on another device.
There’s a reason why I have a feeling that Apple has no chance at winning this lawsuit. The first reason is that Motorola has been around since 1928 and has had a growing list of patents since it started working on networking communications before Apple even existed. Apple was founded in 1977 and hadn’t begun working on network capabilities a long time after that. That said, by 2007 when the first iPhone was created, Motorola already has had thousand of patents on file regarding networking and how to do certain types of networking. Apple should of known about that since Motorola was a really big thing when it came to this type of stuff. To me, it’s almost blatantly obvious that Apple infringed on these patents. Sure it could seem like a mistake, but what makes it more obvious is that Apple refused to sign a licensing deal with Motorola after the issue was addressed.
If a company did not know that they were infringing upon someone’s patent, and was addressed for it, please tell me why they would want to go full force into a courtroom with the company that addressed it? There are reports all over the internet of companies mistakenly infringing upon a patent and signed a licensing deal until they could fix the issue. So, the question is, if Apple was not aware of this, why would they not be willing to sign a licensing deal until said problems could be fixed and why would they be so willing to against Motorola. That’s not to mention that Google acquired Motorola and is most likely backing this lawsuit %100. Google obviously isn’t taking Apple straight on, but emails Google had sent Samsung during the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit have implied that Google is most likely financing Motorola while providing as much evidence that is needed. That said, in technical terms, it’s Google who is suing Motorola.
So, will Apple get out of this or does Motorola have them back up in a corner? Well, I can say that Apple was most definitely not expecting this during their case against Samsung, but I can say that I feel like Apple does not have a chance at this one. These patents basically cover how Apple’s core networking system works. So, if they don’t change it soon, I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing a whole lot of Apple products in the United States in a couple of months. That would be a freaky world to live in, not to mention that it would force Apple to make a new, unique and innovative product. I guess it may just be time for Apple to stop banking off of old technology and create something new like everyone else is (Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Surface for example). I don’t really wish to see Apple as a company die out because of lawsuits and infringed patents, but I seriously would like to see some new innovative products instead of the fifth generation of iPhones coming out that is essentially the same as the forth generation, but hey!
Does anyone actually see Apple managing to get themselves out of this one? Surely they’ll pay their “experts” millions of dollars to protest that Motorola actually infringed on their patents, but will it work with Motorola Mobility backed by Google? This one actually might just be more entertaining than the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit.
The ITC will be filing a ruling with the previous Apple vs Motorola case on August 24th.
That said, lets pull up a chair, throw on the popcorn, grab a soda and sit back and relax as the chaos invades the courtrooms once again.