Motorola accuses Apple of patent infringement

Motorola – once a stalwart Apple ally – is now accusing the Cupertino-based company of unlawfully infringing a number of its patents.

According to a lawsuit filed with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and two District courts, Apple allegedly made unauthorized use of Motorola (Mobility) patents in various flagship products such as MobileMe, the App Store, iPhone, iPad, iTouch and certain Mac computers.

“[The disputed] 18 patents include wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design,” claimed Motorola corporate VP Kirk Dailey.

“[The patents also encompass] key smartphone technologies [like] wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization.”

As such, Motorola’s legal team has requested that the ITC begin an investigation into Apple’s (alleged) unauthorized patent use and issue an Exclusion Order barring importation of infringing products, while prohibiting further sales of infringing merchandise.

In addition, Motorola demanded that Apple cease using patented technology and provide compensation for any past infringements.

“Motorola has innovated and patented throughout every cycle of the telecommunications industry evolution, from [our] invention of the cell phone to its development of premier smartphone products,” said Dailey.

“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 will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its R&D and intellectual property, which are critical to the company’s business.”

It should be noted that Apple discontinued its use of PowerPC (Mac) microprocessors in 2006 – which were based on a RISC architecture created by an Apple–IBM–Motorola alliance, known as AIM.

So, only time will tell if Motorola’s complaints are legitimate, or just payback for switching to Intel x86 architecture.