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Google loads Moto Mobility cannon, fires patent shells at Apple

Siri, is this Mountain View's back-up plan?

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Google's Motorola Mobility has filed a fresh patent infringement case against Apple over features on its phones, including the iPhone's voice assistant, Siri.

Moto filed with the US International Trade Commission to try to get Apple's iDevices and Macs banned in the country over seven different patents that deal with location reminders, email notification and video players, among other things.

“We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a licence leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations,” Motorola Mobility said in a statement to Bloomberg.

The handset-maker already has another complaint open at the ITC against Apple, listing four patents, and an initial ruling decided that the firm was right about one of them. The full commission still has to review the decision however, before iPhones and 3G-enabled iPads get banned in the US. The final determination is expected later this week.

Before Google's acquisition of Motorola, it wasn't meeting its fruity adversary directly, although Apple had been targeting the Chocolate Factory's partners who were using the Android OS on their mobes.

Now Apple and Google are facing off in the existing Moto battles as well as the new one filed with the ITC, which is not yet publicly available.

The US Congress has been mulling over whether or not any companies should be able to get bans on rival products based on standards essential patents (SEP). SEP-holders argue that they should have as much recourse to the law as other patent-owners, but since SEP has to be licensed under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, potential licensees don't think their gear should be banned if they haven't come to an agreement on those terms.

Moto, like Samsung, has argued that Apple refuses to pay a reasonable licensing fee and is relying on SEP-holders' lack of legal clout to keep avoiding the payments. Apple says that these matters should be sorted out in federal court, not with the ITC, and has claimed that it has only been offered unfair licensing deals.

Motorola in Europe had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication. ®

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