Motorola seeks to ban all Macs, iPads and most iPhones for patent infringement

Macworld Australia Staff
20 September, 2012
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Motorola has asked the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to place import bans on a large portion of Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models and every Mac OS X computer, claiming the devices infringe on several patents held by the Google-owned company.

The ITC launched an investigation into Apple’s designs,  following allegations from Motorola, outlining seven of its patents that it argues have been used in numerous Apple iOS devices,  including the iPod touch, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and all three generations of the iPad. Ars Technica points out that the complaint does not include the iPhone 5, given the filing was submitted prior to  its official launch.

Of the seven patents, Motorola also points to Apple’s Mac lineup, including the Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, claiming the products infringe its “System for providing continuity between messaging clients and method therefor.” The filing says Apple’s iMessage client for Mac OS X and iOS copies a patent, which was issued to Motorola in 2006.

In the complaint Motorola outlines the alleged breach:

“A plurality of messaging clients within a messaging communication system for providing continuity between the plurality of messaging clients comprising: a first messaging client, for establishing a first communication connection including a plurality of client data with a message server; and a second messaging client for receiving the plurality of client data from the first messaging client and for establishing a second communication connection including the plurality of client data with the message server.”

In other words, Motorola’s contention lies with Apple’s iMessage client allowing users continuous communication across multiple devices, so for example, starting a conversation on a MacBook Air via iMessage and then continuing the discussion on a mobile device using the iMessage application in iOS 5.

In a statement, Motorola says it is seeking to ban Apple’s devices from importation to the US.

“We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a licence leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations.”

Motorola unsuccessfully sought an injunction against Apple earlier this year, claiming four of its patents were being infringed by the Cupertino-based company, but the US federal court dismissed the complaints.

In the most recent filing, the ITC says a verdict has not yet been reached, confirming it “has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case.”

The dispute follows ongoing court battles between Apple and Motorola over alleged patent infringements in the US.


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