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Google's Motorola hits Apple with new patent lawsuit

The suit aims, on the surface, to block imports into the U.S. of foreign-made Apple products. It may really be about trying to reach an accord with the iPad and iPhone maker.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read

Motorola Mobility today filed a new patent-infringement suit against Apple and seeks to block imports of many foreign-made products such as the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and some Macs.

According to Bloomberg, Motorola, owned by Google, filed the suit in hopes that it could reach an agreement with Apple on their many existing patent disputes. In a statement to CNET, Motorola Mobility said that, "We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple's unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations."

The request to block imports into the United States of Apple's hugely successful products is a stark bargaining position, and it's hard to imagine any court granting Motorola's request. "This means Google's strategy to address Android's serious intellectual-property issues -- Android-based devices have already been held by courts in different jurisdictions to infringe, among other things, nine valid Apple patents -- is further escalation in hopes of such developments forcing cross-license agreements or mutual covenants not to sue," wrote blog Foss Patents.

Motorola's move is just the latest in a multiyear series of back-and-forth patent suits between it and Apple. "The announcement of this new complaint may be driven in part by a desire to demonstrate that Motorola isn't finished even if its first...complaint against Apple may fail," Foss Patents wrote. "Another possible motivation on Google's part is that the acquisition of Motorola Mobility has not been money well spent so far. And a third reason could be that Apple has the upper hand in its dispute with Samsung, and may receive a favorable verdict...which would call into question Google's ability to bring about the patent peace it promised a year ago when it announced the Motorola deal."