Apple sues Motorola over Xoom design, report says

FOSS Patents says that Apple is taking aim at Motorola in Europe, a day after the EU puts a freeze on sales of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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The Motorola Xoom has been cited in a new suit, FOSS Patents says.
The Motorola Xoom has been cited in a new suit, FOSS Patents says. Motorola Mobility

Apple has filed a complaint with the European Union over the design of the Motorola Xoom, FOSS Patents is reporting.

According to the blog, Apple's complaint against Samsung, which was filed in German court, includes mention of a complaint that Apple filed against Motorola. Exactly when Apple filed the complaint with the EU is unknown, but FOSS's Florian Mueller said that it could have happened either before or at the same time Apple took aim at Samsung.

The Android-based Motorola Xoom comes with a 10.1-inch display, and users can choosef Wi-Fi-only or Wi-Fi-and-3G connectivity. The device retails for $499 or $599, depending on the connectivity option and whether users want a wireless plan.

The companies first locked horns in October when Motorola charged Apple with violating 18 patents in its iOS-based devices, as well as some Macs. Not long after, Apple sued Motorola for violating six of its patents in the company's Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, and other smartphones. In November, the U.S. International Trade Commission agreed to hear Apple's complaint, which requested a ban on the importation of allegedly infringing Motorola devices.

Prior to FOSS Patents' discovery, it was believed that Motorola and Apple had been facing off in the U.S. But it appears now that Apple is trying to score another major victory across the Atlantic.

Yesterday, the iPhone maker was awarded a preliminary injunction against Samsung that banned the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in every EU country except for the Netherlands. In addition, Apple has requested that a district court in Germany fine Samsung $350,000 per violation or imprison the company's management.

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Samsung said yesterday in a statement to CNET that the ruling was a surprise, and it had no chance to argue its case.

"The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung," the company told CNET. "We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung's innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world."

Apple's latest victory followed an agreement the company struck with Samsung in Australia. According to court filings there, Samsung agreed to sell a version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 down under that Apple will need to approve. The U.S. version of the device will not be sold in Australia.

Apple's newly revealed European dispute with Motorola follows complaints from Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, who wrote on his company's blog last week that Apple is among many companies that have taken aim at Google's Android platform with what he calls, "bogus patents."

"But Android's success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, and other companies, waged through bogus patents," Drummond wrote in the post, entitled, "When patents attack Android."

"Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it," Drummond wrote.

Neither Apple nor Motorola responded immediately to CNET's request for comment.