Skyhook Sues Google for Interference, Patent Infringement

Location software maker Skyhook Wireless filed separate patent infringement and tortious interference lawsuits against rival Google, which it claimed interfered with its business agreement with Motorola.

Skyhook Wireless, a maker of software that helps determine the location of cell phones, filed separate patent infringement and tortious interference lawsuits against rival Google.

Skyhook's software enables cell towers, GPS technologies and WiFi location databases to talk to each other to help pinpoint the location of a mobile device, such as a smartphone.

Google makes similar technology for its location-based services such as Google Maps and Google Latitude.

The search engine also makes the technology available to makers of phones based on Google's Android operating system. Google believes location-based technologies will fortify its mobile online advertising opportunities.

In the interference suit, filed in Massachusetts Superior Court, Skyhook claimed Google costs it tens of millions of dollars by trying to cut in on its contract with Motorola, which makes smartphones that leverage location services.

Motorola, which makes and sells smartphones based on Google's Android operating system, agreed to use Skyhook's XPS location technology in April.

When Google Vice President of Engineering Andy Rubin learned of this, according to the suit, he called Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha to impose a "stop ship" order, preventing Motorola from shipping Android wireless devices featuring Skyhook's XPS software.

Rubin claimed that using XPS in Android phones would make them incompatible. Motorola ended up shipping its Motorola Droid X smartphone in mid-July using Google's location software instead of the Skyhook XPS technology.