The patent battle continues anew between Apple and Motorola this week with the Google subsidiary filing a fresh patent case with the US International Trade Commission today. Details of the claims aren't yet available, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Motorola is alleging that Cupertino is in violation of seven patents — none of which are considered standards-essential (that is, Motorola is under no obligation to license the patents under FRAND terms). Motorola says that Apple has shown "unwillingness" to work on a licensing scheme for the IP that it says affects the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and it's asking for the ITC to levy an import ban as a result.
As with all patent cases, it could take some time for this one to play out — assuming Apple doesn't cave to Motorola's licensing terms.
Update: Bloomberg reports that the patents at issue involve Siri, "location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players."
Update 2: The full ITC complaint is now publicly available, confirming Motorola has asserted seven technical patents against numerous Apple products. On the iOS side, the accused devices include the iPod touch, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the third-generation iPad. The accused Mac OS systems include the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air. It's likely that some of these devices will be limited further to specific generations or models, but this is the current list provided in the complaint.
On the patent side of things, the asserted rights cover various technology areas, including location tracking, voice input prompting, wireless communication management, multi-device content pausing, and message syncing. While the actual enforceable scope of the patent claims obviously will be narrower, here is Motorola's "non-technical description" of what the patents generally describe:
- 5,883,580 - "a method and apparatus for receiving messages having a relevancy status (e.g., a location identifier) and processing the messages when the relevancy status changes."
- 5,922,047 - "an apparatus and method for providing control functions over multiple and diverse media applications, preferably operating at more than one designated node or location."
- 6,425,002 - "a message manager program for accepting and dispatching messages, application program(s) for handling and presenting messages, and message client program(s) that receive messages from the message manager program and provides them to the application program."
- 6,493,673 - "providing prompt element including an announcement to be read to a user, and an input element that allows an audible user input to be converted into a text string."
- 6,983,370 - "the ability to sync the messaging capabilities of multiple devices."
- 7,007,064 - "an apparatus and method for obtaining and managing wirelessly communicated content."
- 7,383,983 - "a system and method for pausing content in one device and resuming playback of the content in another device that may be in a different domain."