A federal judge has ordered Google and Motorola to hand over details about Android to Apple. It’s a small legal victory for Cupertino in a long patent war.
Apple's legal team enjoyed a
small victory March 5, when a federal judge in Chicago ruled that Google and
Motorola Mobility must hand over to Apple information relevant to development
of Google's Android operating system, according to a report from Bloomberg
The ruling came as part of
an ongoing 2010 lawsuit filed by Apple against Motorolawhich is in the process
of being acquired by Google. Motorola also has a pending lawsuit against Apple.
Motorola has been an enthusiastic backer of Android, which has surpassed Apple
iOS in global market share.
acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apples claims and defenses,
Apples attorneys wrote in a March 2 filing, requesting the judges order,
reported Bloomberg, which has obtained court documents.
With Google yet to fully
acquire Motorola, attorneys for the later argued that Google has nothing to do
with the lawsuit, and the request lacked merit.
"Googles employees and
documents are not within the possession, custody or control of Motorola, and
Motorola cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Googles
objections, Motorola said in a March 5 court filing, according to the report.
In November 2010, Apple
for infringing on patents related to multi-touch and other
screen-related technologies. In October 2010, Motorola
, accusing it of infringing on technologies used in the Apple
iPhone, iPad, iTouch and some Mac computers.
Motorola's corporate vice
president of intellectual property said in a statement at the time that
Motorola has "extensively licensed our industry-leading intellectual
property portfolio, consisting of tens of thousands of patents in the U.S. and
worldwide. After Apples late entry into the telecommunications market, we
engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple has refused to take a license."
Motorola's extensive patent
portfolio is said to be Google's No. 1 reason for acquiring the phone maker.
Fortifying its holdings, it's thought, will help to keep it out of court with
Apple in the future.
Apple has also sued
Android-advocate HTC, as well as once-market-leader Nokia.
According to Bloomberg,
beginning June 11, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, who made the ruling
yesterday, will oversee back-to-back trials with Apple and Motorola before
separate juries. The first trial will be in regard to six disputed Apple
patents while the second will deal with three Motorola patents.
Motorola has had some
success with its Droid line of phones, but nothing near the high-flying it did
during its Razr feature phone days. Samsung has instead emerged as the leading
Android smartphone maker. During the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple shipped 35.5
million devices, according to a Feb. 15 report from Gartner, for a 7.4 percent
share of the marketup from its 3.5 percent share a year earlier. Motorola, by
contrast, shipped just more than 10 million devices, dipping to a 2.1 percent
market share from 2.4 percent a year ago.
Gartner analysts lumped it
with LG, Sony Ericsson and Research In Motion as vendors that "again
recorded disappointing results," while Apple and Samsung cemented their
positions at the top of the market.