Who’s suing Apple this week? Mobile patent lawsuits round-up

David Price
21 June, 2012
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It sometimes seems like every mobile company is suing every other mobile company in some kind of patent violation lawsuit. But that would be ridiculous. In fact, there are several firms who haven’t sued anyone in days, and we think there’s at least one mobile patent that isn’t currently being disputed. Although that’s only a rumour.

In any case, it’s hard to keep up with who’s suing whom, and particularly who’s suing or being sued by Apple, one of the most legally involved companies in the industry.

To make things easier for patent lawsuit junkies, we’ve decided to put together a regularly updated summary - regularly updated, he writes optimistically - of who’s in court this week, and more importantly, which cases are likely to have an impact on the smartphone and tablet industries, sales of products and releases of new technologies.

In other words, we’re going to wade through the legal reports to sift out the bits that affect you.

Apple vs Motorola

Today, in Chicago, Judge Richard Posner will lead a hearing to discuss four Apple patents and one Motorola patent. Our source suggests that neither party is likely to win an injunction, since the judge initially planned to dismiss the entire lawsuit. Expect furious arguments from both sides, but little material outcome.

Apple vs Samsung

Tomorrow summary judgement motions will be heard in San Jose by Judge Lucy Koh. This trial is slated to start on 30 July; Thursday’s discussions are intended to establish and narrow the scope of the case. This is a potentially huge and influential case but things are just getting warmed up.

In essence, Samsung is claiming that Apple is asserting too many intellectual property rights, and that the judge should throw some of them out before the trial can proceed. Apple obviously disagrees.

(See alsoSamsung Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 4S review)

Apple vs Samsung (again); Apple vs Motorola (again); Microsoft vs Motorola Mobility (owned by Google)

A busy Friday schedule in the Mannheim Regional Court in Germany. We begin with a small but potentially crucial subplot of the big case of the year, with Apple and Samsung disputing an important patent related to the Android user interface. If the complaint is upheld, Google will need to significantly rewrite its mobile OS, along with existing apps.

But before an infringement can be ruled, Samsung has lodged a complaint about a bond provided by Apple to cover litigation expenses if Samsung wins the case; Samsung claims there are loopholes and administrative irregularities that make this bond invalid. Sound convoluted? It is. But this could be an important battle in the Apple-Samsung war.

After all that excitement, Apple will return to the ring in the afternoon for a dust-up with Motorola over a considerably less interesting patent that relates to multilingual keyboards.

Finally, the week ends with a case that doesn’t involve Apple, so we’re a bit less excited. Microsoft will be levelling a pair of lawsuits at Motorola Mobility, which spun off from Motorola in January last year and was acquired by Google seven months later. (Lucky for us that Apple is also currently embroiled in a case with Motorola Mobility.

For more on the various cases above, check the superb patent specialist site FOSS Patents, our source for this week’s timetable. See you next week for more mobile patent high-jinks!

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