Apple, Google square off once more in patent spat

Apple, Google square off once more in patent spat

Summary: Apple and Google are once again canvassing the courtroom as the tech giants argue over the reopening of a lawsuit concerning mobile phone technology patents.

TOPICS: Apple, Google, Legal, Patents
credit brian turner
Credit: Brian Turner

Apple and Google subsidiary Motorola Mobility have ended up back in court in a battle over whether a lawsuit should be reopened concerning the alleged misuse of mobile technology patents.

The tech giants have accused each other of infringing on a number of patents related to mobile phones, as reported by Reuters. Within the case, which went under review originally in 2010, the iPad and iPhone maker argues that Motorola Mobility has infringed on four patents, whereas the rival firm says that Apple infringes upon a standard-essential patent which allows a mobile phone to function properly.

Standard-essential patents must be licensed under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms -- otherwise known as FRAND licensing -- by law. 

The case was originally dismissed in June at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where Judge Richard Posner said neither company had sufficient evidence to pursue the allegations further. However, Motorola Mobility filed an appeal to have the case reopened.

In August, the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. found that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made a mistake by invalidating one Apple patent and finding that Google's Motorola Mobility unit did not violate another -- specifically, a patent which explains how to make a touchscreen transparent. As a result, the presiding judge ruled that the agency was mistaken in its original judgement, and Apple could resurrect its patent claims against Motorola Mobility.

Google purchased Motorola Mobility in May 2010 for $12.5 billion, just after Apple filed its lawsuit.

Judge Sharon Prost, who is overseeing the appeal with two other judges, questioned both parties on Wednesday to decide whether the firms had tried hard enough to agree on licensing deals to use the patents, or whether one or the other was an "unwilling licensee."

In March, Google argued that Apple is an unwilling licensee -- a party that does not seriously negotiate a patent license, and so is guilty of infringement. Under this definition, a company could face sales bans on products that use infringing technology. In this case, Apple argues it is not an unwilling licensee, but was unhappy with paying rates that are "12 times" the amount previously paid to use the patent.

The Federal Circuit appeals court could take months to reach a decision.

Technology giants around the world have filed hundreds of patents to protect intellectual property within the lucrative smartphone and tablet market. Apple has previously argued that Google's rival Android smartphones copy elements of the iconic iPhone, Samsung has taken Apple to court over design features, and Oracle has accused Google of infringing 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs) within the Android operating system.

Topics: Apple, Google, Legal, Patents

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  • What part of FRAND doesn't google get? WTF Larry Page?

    And ripping off Apples ip on top of that. Shamefull google. I wish you had meant it when you said do no evil. Seems like you've been doing nothing but since then.
    Johnny Vegas
    • What part of "patented" does Apple not get.

      And apple ripping off Motorolas IP on top of that. Shamefull Apple.

      Apple as always stolen ideas, usually to reimplement them their way, and occasionally in a better way.

      But recently they seem to just steal.

      Hardware patents are to be licensed. Apple seems to think it doesn't have to.
    • Johnny Vegas

      Isn't funny how the trolls around here flag your comment even though there nothing inappropriate in what you wrote? You can thank the ToddBottom3 for that one.
      • But you do generally talk twaddle,

        So you can understand why some think you need flagging.

        (Not that I've flagged you - I strongly believe that idiocy should be open to public ridicule, not hidden away).
        • Hmmm. My posting has 1 flag.

          Thanks for flagging and saying you did not.

          Look the mirror before commenting... Thank for the personal attack. Bully!

      • ToddBottom3

        Now there's somebody who should be banned.

        I find his choice of icon particularly repugnant.
        • I Don't Understand

          His avatar praises Steve Jobs by using virility horns.
      • Anti-trust

        Apple is pure as the driven snow, no EVIL motives at all. No antitrust issues while trying to corner the market on e-books. Give your head a shake Apple fanboy. the spin is that it is in the consumers best interest that Apple charge them more than market value, and the fanboys bend over and pay more and more.
    • And...

      What part of:

      "Standard-essential patents must be licensed under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms -- otherwise known as FRAND licensing -- by law."

      do YOU not understand? Apparently neither you nor Apple understand this.
      • Well you obviously don't....

        Understand FRAND licensing...
        Judge Radar to Google(Motorola)....
        "Isn't it crazy to give that much value [hundred of millions of dollars] to one patent in a crowded field? Give me some reason why I as a judge at any level of proceeding would give so much value to one patent."

        "[For a single patent], 40% of the value of an entire portfolio? What kind of crazy negotiator would I be to agree to that?"

        Google was unable to answer.

        Google's FRAND abuse has been well and truly exposed. They should be smacked...hard.
  • Xerox

    Has anyone checked with Xerox? They probably already have patients on this. They always do.
  • I just love how Dunning-Krueger every patent discussion is here

    Yeah, all the fanbois know so very much about both patent law and the specific cases in question to be vocal authorities. Sure.
  • They don't have to know anything

    Most of them are still running on the old myth that if you say it often enough, loud enough and toss in a few big words while you denigrate anyone to disagrees with you, eventually people will begin to think you are right.
    Those of us who prefer to think for themselves and buy what serves our needs, changing brands if someone else meets them better.. just get tired of all this software patent suit crap. Software should be copyrighted, not patented. The only ones that profit are the lawyers, the ones that lose every time no matter who wins, the consumer. Look in the mirror.. that means YOU too.