Patent Dispute Pandemonium

By Cindy Waxer October 07, 2010

Patent lawyers are a busy bunch these days. Motorola is the latest high-tech player to launch a patent dispute, this time accusing Apple of infringing on patents pertaining to its wireless and mobile devices.

On Oct. 6, Motorola filed its complaints with the International Trade Commission as well as in the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of Florida. Motorola Mobility, a Motorola subsidiary, also filed a complaint against Apple.

The legal dispute surrounds Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iTouch and other Mac computers which Motorola alleges infringe on 18 of its patents in the areas of antenna design and related smartphone technologies.

A statement on the Motorola website reads:

“Motorola has innovated and patented throughout every cycle of the telecommunications industry evolution, from Motorola’s invention of the cell phone to its development of premier smartphone products. We have extensively licensed our industry-leading intellectual property portfolio, consisting of tens of thousands of patents in the U.S. and worldwide. After Apple’s late entry into the telecommunications market, we engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license. We had no choice but to file these complaints to halt Apple’s continued infringement.”

Motorola isn’t the only company tossing its hat in the patent dispute ring. Earlier this week, a jury in Texas ordered Apple to pay a staggering $625.5 million for violating three patents owned by Mirror Words, a firm founded by David Gelernter, a Yale University computer science professor. Apple is challenging the verdict from a federal court in Tyler, Texas, saying the court has not yet looked at some of its counterclaims.

And in early October, Microsoft launched a suit against Motorola for infringing on its patents related to “synchronizing e-mail, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power” with its Android-based smartphones.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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