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Apple sues Motorola over multitouch in Android phones

Nov 1, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Apple sued Motorola for infringing on six patents related to multitouch and other access technologies in its Android smartphones. Responding to a Motorola lawsuit against Apple three weeks ago over smartphone-related patents, the Apple suit hopes to stop Motorola from selling its popular, Android-based Droid phones.

Apple fired back at Motorola for what it alleges is an infringement on patents for multitouch and other touchscreen-related technologies the rival phone maker employs in its popular Android smartphone lineup. 

Three weeks after Motorola sued Apple over smartphone-related patents, Apple filed two suits in the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin, alleging Motorola handsets such as the Droid, Droid X (pictured) and Droid 2 infringe on six patents dealing with ways users access the handsets. Apple is seeking damages, and wants the court to halt Motorola from selling its Droid phones.

The Droid devices, sold by Verizon Wireless, have helped Google's Android platform top 20 percent market share in two years. They've also helped loose Motorola from the phone sale doldrums, boosting the company to a $109 million profit in the recently closed quarter. Motorola said it will contest the lawsuits, the latest in a series of legal skirmishes between Apple and other smartphone makers.

The suits are part of Apple's bid to slow Android's speedy rise in the market. Apple launched its popular iPhone in 2007 with some solid innovations in multitouch technology, including the practice of using two fingers to pinch and zoom on the phone. The iPhone, for which Apple has filed many patents, has grown to capture 25 percent of smartphone market share in the United States.

Apple sued HTC in March, alleging the phone maker infringed on 20 patents, including interface and hardware technologies used in HTC's handsets, including Android-based devices. HTC fired back, suing Apple for infringing on five patents, and requesting that the International Trade Commission prevent Apple from selling its iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices in the United States. Apple would file a second suit in June.

Microsoft got in on the Android-suing action earlier this month, suing Motorola for violating nine patents related to technologies in its Android handsets. That came months after HTC agreed to pay Microsoft royalties related to the use of smartphone technologies in its Android phones.

Perhaps as a preemptive strike for legal action related to Android phones from Apple, on Oct. 6 Motorola sued Apple for infringing on Motorola patents in technology used in the Apple iPhone, iPad, iTouch and certain Mac computers. Motorola filed its complaints in the United States and with the International Trade Commission.


More details on the Apple lawsuit may be found at Patently Apple, here.

Clint Boulton is a regular contributor to our sister publication eWEEK.

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