The suit over the design of the Xoom tablet was filed in May but only recently has come to light, following a mention from Apple in a complaint against Samsung.
Motorola plans to fight hard to defend itself against Apple's patent infringement claims related to the company's Xoom tablet.
Writing to CNET in an e-mail last night, a Motorola spokesperson said that the company plans to "vigorously defend Motorola's own product designs."
Yesterday, FOSS Patents reported that Apple made mention--in a complaint brought before the European Union against Samsung--of a patent suit it filed against Motorola over the design of its Xoom tablet. Apple's Motorola complaint previously hadn't been made public. However, in the e-mail to CNET, Motorola provided a timeline of events.
"After Motorola filed patent infringement complaints against Apple in Germany in April 2011, Apple responded by filing its own patent infringement actions against Motorola in Germany including design patent infringement claims," the spokesperson wrote. "Apple's complaint for design patent infringement was filed on May 27, 2011, over two months ago."
The spokesperson then took the chance to poke holes in Apple's argument, saying that the company "has reviewed Apple's claims and believe they have no merit."
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Whether Motorola will have more luck than Samsung, though, remains to be seen. Earlier this week, Apple was awarded a preliminary injunction banning the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in every European Union country except for the Netherlands. For its part, Samsung said that it had no idea the request for the injunction had even been brought to the court.
"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."
Motorola's Xoom and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are strikingly similar. Both tablets have 10.1-inch displays and run Android's "Honeycomb" version. The devices also feature a similar design.
But Apple's troubles with Motorola go beyond tablets. In October, Motorola sued Apple, alleging the iPhone maker violated 18 patents in iOS-based devices, as well as some of its Macs. Apple responded soon after, claiming Motorola violated six of its patents in its line of smartphones, including the Droid, Droid 2, and Droid X.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.