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Motorola sues Apple over - what else? - patents

'Dog fight' escalates

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Android stalwart Motorola has thrown a one-two punch at Apple, suing it in two US Federal Courts for patent infringement and filing a complaint against with the US International Trade Commission.

"We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple's continued infringement," Kirk Dailey, Motorola Mobility's corporate vice president of intellectual property said in a statement announcing the actions.

"We have extensively licensed our industry-leading intellectual property portfolio," Dailey said, "consisting of tens of thousands of patents in the US and worldwide. After Apple's late entry into the telecommunications market, we engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license."

The complaints are wide ranging, covering "Apple's iPhone, iPad, iTouch and certain Mac computers," plus "associated services, including MobileMe and the App Store."

At the heart of the complaints are 18 patents covering, in Motorola's words, "wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization."

Motorola has asked the ITC to prohibit further sales of "infringing products" and halt the "marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution" of those nasty items.

The US District Court remedy that Motorola seeks is a bit less sweeping but still potentially quite expensive. In those cases, Motorola has requested the courts rule that "Apple cease using Motorola's patented technology and provide compensation for Apple's past infringement."

The Reg respectuflly submits the opinion that patent-infringement madness has gotten completely out of hand. In recent months, for example, Microsoft sued Motorola, Apple sued Nokia in both the US and the UK, Nokia sued Apple again and again and again, location-services provider Skyhook sued Google, Oracle sued Google, XPRT Ventures sued eBay, Salesforce sued Microsoft after Microsoft sued Salesforce, Apple sued HTC which prompted HTC to sue Apple, Xerox sued Google and Yahoo!, Mcrosoft sued TiVo, Kodak sued Apple and RIM, and Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen sued practically everybody.

And that's not event counting putative patent trolls holders such as NTP, MonkeyMedia, SmartPhone Technologies, and Intellectual Ventures, who are firing their suits hither and thither — though most frequently in the plaintiff-loving Eastern District of Texas.

"It's just a dog fight out there," a patent lawyer with the business-centric law firm Lowenstein Sandler told The Wall Street Journal. ®

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