I knew this day would come. I can’t say that I hoped for it, but in all honesty, it was inevitable. Apple has been very busy lately in doing all it can to ban as many Android devices as it can, and HTC, Samsung, and Motorola have all recently got a small taste of the Apple juice lately. But something has changed: Google now owns Motorola, and aren’t wasting any time in defending their new acquisition, as they are now seeking a sales ban on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers in the US. This time, it’s personal, and contains a twist that could potentially make this particular lawsuit a very dangerous one for Apple.
This is the first case that Google has signed off on in defending their new hardware company, meaning that there’s no more lurking in the background providing support. This is full on Google with their law team directly involved. This isn't Google watching from the sidelines, but instead, they are calling this one play by play. But Google and Motorola were clever, as this isn't a lawsuit that focuses on silly topics such as icons or square shaped tablets.
Google and Motorola are claiming patent infringement for non-standard essential patents. To put it simply, Google-rola has filed a case for a patent that courts cannot legally force companies to license, meaning that if they win this case, Apple could be forced to completely stop using the technology in their devices.
We don’t have confirmation on exactly which patent (reportedly "wifi related") is in question here, but we do know that Motorola attempted to reach licensing agreements with Apple (since 2010), which Apple apparently refused. Motorola stated 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”.
(UPDATE: (FOSS Patents is reporting that one of the non standard essential patents in question is for a "sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device", but does not directly specify a wifi related patent. There is still one more non standard essential patent in question, but the specifics of this patent aren't clear at this time. I will contact FOSS Patents and ZDNET (source) for new developments).
This is a big one for Google and for Apple. This isn’t just an OEM that Apple is dealing with now. This is one of the most powerful (if not THE most powerful) movers and shakers in the world. If this comes to trial, Apple could really have its hands full, and might even be forced to rely on Microsoft for backup. **shudders**
The patent wars involving Android and Apple have now reached new heights, and with Google in the center, I have a feeling that things could get very very ugly for the companies that have sought to ban Android products. That being said, you never know how this case could go with the state of the current patent system.
P.S - I still can't believe this article has gone SO viral. We didn't even break this story, and as you can see, I wrote it over a week ago ! Thank you so much for helping spread it around, and I will do my best to update it with more information as I receive it. If you happen to get your hands on information that's not so public yet, let me know so I can update the article!