February 24, 2012

February 10, 2012

Apple, today, has filed a lawsuit against Motorola over their use of Qualcomm technology, as reported by Reuters. Apple explains that Motorola has breached a contract pertaining to their use of a patent license and “asks this Court to enjoin Motorola from prosecuting and 4 enforcing its claims against Apple in Germany.”

Specifically, Apple is suing Motorola over their claims that Apple is illegally using Qualcomm’s baseband chip. In its lawsuit, Apple asks the court to ban Motorola from being able to sue Apple over Apple’s use of Qualcomm’s technology:

Permanent injunctive relief restraining Motorola and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, licensors, successors, assigns, and all those acting in concert with them, from prosecuting patent infringement proceedings against Apple based on Apple’s use of the Qualcomm MDM6610 chip and other Qualcomm components licensed under Motorola patents in any forum other than this Court

The root of the lawsuit is essentially Apple’s strike-back at Motorola for attempting to stop sales of Apple’s 3G products in Germany. The lawsuit’s referencing of Qualcomm’s chips is a nod to the iPhone 4S, which uses a Qualcomm baseband chip, not being removed for that short amount of time when Apple won a temporary injunction of Apple’s 3G products in Germany.

The full lawsuit filing can be viewed here.

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February 6, 2012

Following a brief injunction in the Motorola patent case forcing Apple to remove products from its German online store, a judge shortly after suspended the injunction and Apple claimed it would appeal the court’s original decision “because Motorola repeatedly refuses to license this patent to Apple on reasonable terms.” So, what were the terms of Motorola’s license agreement that Apple considered unreasonable?

Foss Patents reported earlier that court documents revealed Motorola was requesting an approximate 2.25-percent royalty from Apple, and today The Wall Street Journal confirmed the number, which would represent over $1 billion in iPhone sales during 2011. The proof comes from a letter dated Oct.17 and filed with a California court, although it does not list specific devices that would be affected. WSJ reported lawyers see the high royalty request as a way to “force a settlement or disrupt business,” and Foss Patents said Motorola likely wants Apple to deny the request so it can seek injunctions. In comparison, Microsoft is now collecting an approximate $5 royalty on over 70 percent of all Android smartphones sold in the United States, accounting for 2 percent of a $250 device.  Likewise, Oracle is after $1B from Google over Java patents.

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February 3, 2012


Update: It appears that the ban has been lifted already

Apple lost its first significant patent battle today as it was forced to take 3G iPads and iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4’s off its virtual Apple Store shelves in Germany today.

The Mannheim Regional Court found Apple infringed a patent used to synchronize e-mail accounts. The ruling also allows Motorola Mobility to ask Apple for information about past sales and holds Apple liable for damages, Presiding Judge Andreas Voss said in delivering the ruling.

“The court has come to the conclusion that the wording of the patent does cover functioning that were at issue here,” said Voss. Apple “wasn’t able to convince the court that it isn’t infringing.”

The licenses at issue are supposedly “Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory” (FRAND) patents that are considered industry standards. This follows a previous ruling in Motorola’s favor at the end of last year. The court order is directed against Apple Sales International in Ireland, which operates the online store of Apple in Europe.

Perhaps not comical for German consumers (but certainly elsewhere) is that German courts have also banned a number of Samsung products, including its first stab at a tablet, based on Apple patent complaints. Soon their only option will be Motorola XOOMs :P.

The iPhone 4S, Apple’s current flagship device, remains on sale at the German Online Apple Store. It is not immediately certain why this device does not fit into Motorola’s complaint— maybe it is just too new and was not included as part of the original complaint. In addition, the 4S (and CDMA iPhone 4 and iPad 2) use Qualcomm chips while the banned devices use Infineon baseband, so it is possible Qualcomm has patents that indemnify its chips.

In a statement to Businessweek, Apple said:

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December 9, 2011

UPDATE [Friday, December 9, 2011 at 12:45am ET]: The article has been updated with statements from Motorola and Apple, found at the bottom.

Motorola Mobility this morning scored a major win in Germany as the Mannheim Regional Court ruled against Apple in one of the patent infringement lawsuit that the maker of the Razr phone filed against the Cupertino firm in April of this year. Interestingly, Motorola’s counsel Quinn Emanuel also beat Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Samsung products in the United States and is representing Motorola in an iCloud-related lawsuit which was filed on April Fools’ Day.

As part of the ruling, first reported by the FOSS Patents blog, Motorola won an injunction against Apple products that infringe on Motorola’s wireless patents, which includes the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, the original iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G. The court decision follows a default judgment against Apple last month, scheduled to be discussed again in early February.

The ruling involves the European Patent 1010336 (B1) patent – the European equivalent of the U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898 – which covers a “method for performing a countdown function during a mobile-originated transfer for a packet radio system” and was declared essential to the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) standard. This is the first “substantive ruling” as the injunction is “preliminarily enforceable” against Ireland-based Apple Sales International in exchange for a bond unless Apple wins a stay, FOSS Patents explains.

How can Apple fight back?
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November 18, 2011

Following Motorola winning a possible injunction against Apple mobile products in Germany, Apple has told a German court it is set to lose $2.7 billion if it rules in favor of Motorola regarding a patent case related to an “emailing syncing patent”, according to a report from Bloomberg (via BusinessInsider). Apple has reportedly requested the court to demand Motorola provide $2.7 billion in collateral in the event the judge sides with Motorola. Bloomberg reports:

German courts often require the winning side in a case to post collateral if it wants to enforce a ruling while the other side is appealing. The amount reflects the losses the party is facing when forced to comply with the ruling. If it wins the appeals, it can seek damages and can make use of the collateral held for that.

While we have no information about how exactly Apple has come to that figure, the judge hearing the case apparently doesn’t agree with Apple’s valuation:
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November 4, 2011

Florian Mueller isn’t a patent attorney but he plays one on his blog FOSSPatents.  For better or worse, he’s often quoted in the ongoing mobile technology patent battles where the winner is often Apple.  He’s also German so he probably understands this new, disturbing ruling a lot better than us (Our German is “rostig”)

Apple knows what it’s like to win injunctions against rivals. It won four of them against Samsung (two in Germany, one in the Netherlands and most recently one in Australia; all of them preliminary). Now it seems that Apple has just come out on the losing end of a patent infringement lawsuit. I have received a copy of what purports to be a default judgment by the Mannheim Regional Court barring Apple from selling in Germany — the single largest market in Europe — any mobile devices infringing on two Motorola Mobility patents and determining that Apple owes Motorola Mobility damages for past infringement since April 19, 2003.

If true, this would be a Hindenburg-sized backfire for Apple’s legal efforts in Europe.

The two patents and their US equivalents, Statements from Apple and Motorola and an update from Mueller below: expand full story

October 18, 2011

September 13, 2011

This is a Samsung-branded Windows 8 tablet Microsoft is giving away to BUILD attendees today. 

The latest in the ongoing patent saga involving Apple, Google, Motorola and Samsung includes an unexpected twist as Samsung goes after iPhone and iPad with a complaint filed before a Paris district court in July. The filing alleges infringement of Samsung’s three technology patents, reports AFP. The first hearing is expected in December of this year.

Meanwhile, patent expert Florian Müller notes on his blog FOSSPatents that Apple has filed motions to temporarily halt two Motorola lawsuits until Google completes its $12.5 billion acquisition, which shook the technology world last month. Put simply, Apple argues Motorola waived its rights to sue when it transferred patents to Google. Apple wrote:

To further its pending acquisition by Google, Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action. According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit

As you know, Google has transferred some of the Motorola patents to HTC, in addition to the ones acquired from Palm and Openwave Systems. HTC then used those patents to counter-sue Apple. Back to Apple vs. Samsung…

Financial Times today opined that Samsung needs to hit the reset button, predicting a licensing agreement of sorts provided Apple succeeds in blocking Galaxy products in the U.S. next month. Contrary to the reports, the publication thinks “Apple is restricted from taking its chip business to Samsung’s rivals in Taiwan because Samsung offers a complete package of components that other firms cannot match”. However, there are indications that Apple’s been lowering Samsung orders for some time and it’s widely believed the company is eager to take its silicon business to TSMC beginning next year.

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August 19, 2011

Assuming Android goes proprietary to Motorola, it falls behind Apple in market share by 2012 and Windows Phone (the Other category) gulps up nearly half the mobile phone market.

There’s a good reason why Apple’s products “just work”. But it’s been a bumpy road for the Cupertino, California company because right from the onset competitors were ridiculing its vertically integrated approach to business. Apple’s supposedly ‘closed’ ecosystem is a major weakness, critics cry. The past decade, however, saw the marketplace validate the strategy through booming sales of Apple gear. But what if GOOG actually tried the AAPL model with Motorola, which today makes about one in ten Android smartphones?

That’s the dilemma Piper Jaffray resident Apple analyst Gene Munster set out to explore in his Friday note to clients. In short, making Android proprietary and exclusive to Motorola would add about 35 percent to operating income for Google, the accidental hardware company. By 2015, the phone biz would add $10.5 billion in operating profit and $56 billion in revenue, resulting in a per-share earnings of $25.16 by 2015. There’s just one problem with this hypothetical strategy: expand full story

August 15, 2011

Google today announced in a blog post an agreement to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, a 63 percent premium to the closing price of Motorola Mobility shares on Friday, August 12, 2011. Is this an example of “moon shots” we’d been promised? Hard to tell as this is a developing story, but Google recently accused Apple and others of attempting to “strangle Android” through litigation.

Motorola Stock was suspiciously up last Friday on rumors of an Icahn takeover.  Perhaps Icahn was gathering enough strength to make the decision.

A statement on Google’s Investor Relations site and Motorola Mobility’s press section quotes Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, Google CEO Larry Page and the search firm’s senior vice president of mobile Andy Rubin as saying that this strategic acquisition will “enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing.” It will be interesting to see how other Android backers react to the news that their operating system provider is in bed with one of their rivals. Google on its part says Motorola Mobility will “remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open”, adding they will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.

If the deal doesn’t go through, Google owes Motorola $2.5B.

Motorola Mobility, of course, has helped put Android on the map with their aggressive anti-Apple promotion of the original Droid. Still, Apple is reaping the vast chunk of profits in the handset business. Motorola Mobility in the June quarter reported a GAAP net loss of $56 million, 19 cents a share, on revenues of $3.3 billion and non-GAAP earnings at nine cents a share. They shipped 400,000 Xoom tablets, amounting to an estimated 2.65 percent tablet market share in June, and 4.4 million Android smartphones, enough to earn an eight percent market share and rank Motorola Mobility as the #8 smartphone vendor and #5 Android backer. Contrast this to Apple…

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April 26, 2011

Apple ended its most recent quarter with nearly $66 billion in cash, increasing its war chest by an astounding $6.1 billion in just three months. Their cash pile is worth more than the combined market capitalization of Nokia, Research In Motion and Motorola Mobility – or half of Google’s enterprise value – explains Asymco’s Horace Dediu:

The funds are big enough to place Apple’s CFO office in the top 100 largest fund managers in the world and larger than any hedge fund manager. If Apple had no revenues, the current cash would sustain operations (SG&A and R&D) for over seven years, or until the middle of 2018.

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March 24, 2011

Once partners, soon frenemies? Droid X launch (left to right): Android’s Andy Rubin, Verizon’s John Stratton, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Motorola’s Sanjay Jha and Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen

Motorola’s role in helping put Google’s mobile operating system on the map with Droid-branded smartphones cannot be underestimated. Even though Android has revitalized their phone business, it is now a risk factor for Motorola Mobility, formerly the mobile devices division of Motorola Inc. The company is reportedly developing its own smartphone software to reduce dependency on a single supplier.

They apparently hired a number of former Apple and Adobe engineers with experience in the mobile market, a source “familiar with the matter” told  InformationWeek. This includes Apple’s former head of rich media and applications group Gilles Drieu and former manager of JavaScript development Benoit Marchant. Motorola did not deny such plans beyond re-affirming its Android focus. Jonathan Goldberg, a Deutsche Bank analyst:

I know they’re working on it I think the company recognizes that they need to differentiate and they need options, just in case. Nobody wants to rely on a single supplier.

This is interesting on many levels.

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January 31, 2011

January 28, 2011

While this may seem impressive at first glance, I’d like to make a few points.

1. You can do the first half of the video on just about any smartphone.  Google Maps isn’t something you need to boot up Firefox for, there’s an app for that.  In fact there are many better apps out there.

2. Who wants to dock their phone as a mediacenter?  That’s what AirPlay is for, except you can still use your phone while it is pushing video to the big screen.  What happens to the HD Multimedia dock when you get a call or want to multitask? expand full story

December 20, 2010

Motorola has just posted their teaser video for their upcoming Android powered tablet. The teaser is quite interesting, going through the different types of tablets in history and noting the pros and cons of each. They bust down on the Galaxy Tab by calling its Android OS a phone operating system and what they say about the iPad is a bit confusing. If they were following the setup of the rest of the commercial they praised the iPad for being a “giant iPhone” but they also bash it by saying it’s “just a giant iPhone.” Make up your mind, Motorola.

As Engadget notes Motorola’s upcoming tablet will surely be running Android Honeycomb if the buzzing bee at the end of the teaser is any indication. Android master Andy Rubin recently showed off a prototype Motorola tablet running Honeycomb and said its set for next year. Oh, by next year he meant CES.

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November 24, 2010

We’re looking at serious legal challenges across the mobile phone industry in the next couple of years, with Apple’s case against Motorola now set to be reviewed by the US ITC, which could ban import of Motorola phones into the US if the company is found guilty. Meanwhile, HTC and Samsung have teamed up with that renowned patent rights litigator, Intellectual Ventures, to protect those firms from attack. expand full story

October 30, 2010

Remember when Motorola sued Apple (and everyone else) earlier this month? Remember when Motorola said Droid Does and iPhone Doesn’t? Well today Apple is hitting back at Motorola. Apple has recently filed two lawsuits against Motorola over six patents filed by Apple relating to Multi-Touch. According to Apple’s lawsuit the Motorola products infringing on Apple’s Intellectual Property are the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, Devour i1, and Charm 1.

Apple has split up the six patent infringements into two lawsuits and here they are from Patently Apple:

One: Apple, Inc patent titled: Ellipse Fitting for Multi-Touch Surfaces

Two: Apple, Inc patent titled: Multipoint Touchscreen

Three: Taligent, Inc patent titled: Object-Oriented System Locator System

Four: Apple, Inc, patent titled: Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics

Five: Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Method and Apparatus for Displaying and Accessing Control and Status Information in a Computer System

Six: Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Support for Custom User-Interaction Elements in a Graphical, Event-Driven Computer System

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October 6, 2010

Image from Design Language of Guardian data via DF

Hey Motorola doesn’t have any arrows up there pointing at Apple.  Not for long:

Overall, Motorola Mobility’s three complaints include 18 patents, which relate to early-stage innovations developed by Motorola in key technology areas found on many of Apple’s core products and associated services, including MobileMe and the App Store. The Motorola patents include wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization.

18?  That’s a new record.

Motorola Mobility has requested that the ITC commence an investigation into Apple’s use of Motorola’s patents and, among other things, issue an Exclusion Order barring Apple’s importation of infringing products, prohibiting further sales of infringing products that have already been imported, and halting the marketing, advertising, demonstration and warehousing of inventory for distribution and use of such imported products in the United States. In the District Court actions, Motorola Mobility has requested that Apple cease using Motorola’s patented technology and provide compensation for Apple’s past infringement.

The ITC expedites patents quicker than the US courts so this will mean shit gets hot sooner. expand full story

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