Google and Motorola Mobility have been ordered by a U.S judge to hand over development information pertaining to Android in an ongoing patent case.
The judge agreed with Apple that roadmap details and Motorola's acquisition details should be given to Apple, its main rival in the smartphone race, reports Bloomberg.
"The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple's claims and defenses," Apple's lawyers said in a filing on March 2, requesting the order from the court. "Motorola shall be expected to obtain full and immediate compliance by Google with Apple's liability discovery demands," the Chicago judge said.
But Motorola hit back and said it had no "possession, custody, or control" of Google's employees and documents, and that it could not "force Google to produce documents or witnesses".
Google has said previously that while it plans to buy the hardware maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, the division would remain a third-party smartphone maker and would be treated as a separate organisation.
Not only would this mostly quell fears from other smartphone makers who use the Android operating system, it would prevent antitrust authorities from dropping a dead weight on the companies from a great height. EU and U.S. authorities would have likely not passed the acquisition deal should such "dividers" between the companies not exist.
Exactly what Apple wants is unclear from the filings, however. Google may have wider roadmap plans outside Android that includes the mobile operating system, and could open up the search turned mobile giant to further attacks from Apple, should further patents be thought to be violated.
Apple and Motorola have been engaged in an acrimonious battle over patents in recent months.
But though Android, developed by Google, has been at the center of the patent wars in the past year, Apple and Google have yet to face each other head to head, with Apple instead focusing its efforts on smartphone makers who use the platform.
Two trials with separate juries have been scheduled for June 11; one covering six allegedly infringed patents brought by Apple against Motorola, and the other with three patents from Motorola.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment. An Apple spokesperson also declined to comment, while Motorola was unavailable at the time of writing.
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Around the network:
- CNET: Justice Department set to OK Google-Motorola deal, WSJ says
- Google: Motorola buy won’t put us into hardware business
- Google to promise fair licensing for Motorola patents
- CBS News: What a Google-Motorola marriage means for you
- Why Its Motorola Purchase Really Shows Google’s Market Weakness
- Motorola suffers 4Q loss as Google sale looms
- Blockbuster: Google buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5B