Motorola Mobility sues Apple (again); seeks iPhone, Mac import ban

Summary:Google's newly acquired phone making unit is to sue Apple (again) for patent infringement. Another ruling is expected this week: is the tide turning on Apple?

Motorola Mobility has filed new patent infringement claims against Apple, and wants its range of desktop and mobile devices banned from U.S. sale.

The Google-owned hardware maker is claiming the iPhone maker infringes seven of its patents, including location reminders, email notification, and even Siri -- the voice activated 'intelligent' assistant, Motorola Mobility said on Friday.

Motorola Mobility is seeking an import ban at the U.S. International Trade Commission to prevent the import of iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers built in China.

"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, reports Bloomberg.

The two technology giants continue to bicker over patents -- an ongoing battle since 2010 -- after talks to license each others' products failed. 

It's not the first time Motorola's smartphone making arm has filed a suit against Apple. An August 24 ruling will determine the outcome of a previous case in relating to Wi-Fi patents. If Apple infringed a Motorola-held patent, iPhone sales could be blocked in the U.S. until the patent is licensed or removed.

But in this second ding-dong between the companies, one additional twist could help Motorola Mobility's case. The patents asserted in the paperwork filed on Friday are not standard-essential patents. Courts cannot force companies to license patents that are not standard essential  -- meaning Apple may have to ditch using the patent altogether. 

Apple has previously argued that Motorola's licensing fees are disproportionally too high. The ITC said Apple had infringed one of Motorola's patents, which could see a ban on iPhone imports as soon as early as this week.

How this one will turn out is anybody's guess. It's looking as though the patent portfolio Google picked up in its Motorola Mobility purchase could pay off after all.

Topics: Google, Apple, Legal

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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