Apple Files Lawsuit against Motorola to Defend Multi-Touch
The inevitable: When Motorola preemptively launched their declaration judgment action against Apple earlier this month, we knew that Apple was likely to launch multiple patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola once their licensing negotiations failed to produce an agreement. Late yesterday, Apple filed a pair of patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola Inc. and Motorola Mobility Inc. in the Wisconsin Western District Court. The combined lawsuits cover six patents – none of which were covered by Motorola Mobility Inc.'s filed lawsuits. The main focus of these lawsuits centers in on the most important technology of all pertaining to the next generation smartphones: Multi-Touch. In 2009, Apple's COO Tim Cook warned the competition during a financial conference, as follows: "we like competition as long as they don't rip off our IP. And if they do, we will go after anyone who does." Obviously Apple now thinks that Motorola has crossed that line.
The Accused Products
According to court documents, Apple states that the Accused Products are mobile devices, such as smartphones, and associated software, including operating systems, user interfaces, and other application software designed for use on, and loaded onto, such devices.
Upon information and belief, these products are manufactured, marketed and/or sold by Motorola in the United States. At least the following mobile devices infringe one or more claims of one or more of the Asserted Patents: Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, Devour i1, and Charm.1
An Overview of All the Patents listed in the Two Lawsuits
The following information pertains to six granted patents listed in Apple's two distinct lawsuits.
In the First Case (0661)
One: Apple, Inc patent titled: Ellipse Fitting for Multi-Touch Surfaces: Patent Abstract: Apparatus and methods are disclosed for simultaneously tracking multiple finger and palm contacts as hands approach, touch, and slide across a proximity-sensing, multi-touch surface. Identification and classification of intuitive hand configurations and motions enables unprecedented integration of typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation, and handwriting into a versatile, ergonomic computer input device.
Two: Apple, Inc patent titled: Multipoint Touchscreen: Patent Abstract: A touch panel having a transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches or near touches that occur at the same time and at distinct locations in the plane of the touch panel and to produce distinct signals representative of the location of the touches on the plane of the touch panel for each of the multiple touches is disclosed.
Three: Taligent, Inc patent titled: Object-Oriented System Locator System: Patent Abstract: A method and system for adding system components (documents, tools, fonts, libraries, etc.) to a computer system without running an installation program. A location framework is employed to locate system components whose properties match those specified in search criteria. The framework receives notification from the system when system components whose properties match the search criteria are added to or removed from the system.
In the Second Case (0662)
Four: Apple, Inc, patent titled: Touch Screen Device, Method, and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics: Apple's invention generally relates to electronic devices with touch screen displays, and more particularly, to electronic devices that apply heuristics to detected user gestures on a touch screen display to determine commands.
Five: Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Method and Apparatus for Displaying and Accessing Control and Status Information in a Computer System: Apple's invention generally relates to the field of computer systems; particularly, the present invention relates to displaying a status and control function bar or window to enable access of user selected indicia to a computer system user.
Six: Apple Computer, Inc. patent titled: Support for Custom User-Interaction Elements in a Graphical, Event-Driven Computer System: Apple's invention relates to graphical, event-driven computer systems, more particularly to custom interactive user-interaction elements in a computer system having a window-based graphical user interface.
Apple's Prayer for Relief
Apple is seeking the following from the court:
A judgment that Motorola has directly infringed, induced infringement, and/or contributed to the infringement of one or more claims of each of the '828, '607, '430, '949, '002, and '315 patents;
A judgment permanently enjoining Motorola and its officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, affiliates, attorneys, and all others acting in privity or in concert with them, and their parents, subsidiaries, divisions, successors and assigns, from further acts of infringement, contributory infringement, or inducement of infringement of the Asserted Patents;
A judgment awarding Apple all damages adequate to compensate for Motorola's infringement, and in no event less than a reasonable royalty for Motorola's acts of infringement, including all pre-judgment and post-judgment interest at the maximum rate permitted by law;
A judgment that Motorola's various acts of infringement have been willful and deliberate, and therefore, that Apple is entitled to up to treble damages as provided by 35 U.S.C. § 284;
A judgment that Motorola's willful infringement renders this an exceptional case entitling Apple to an award of its attorneys' fees and costs incurred in prosecuting this action, together with interest, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285; and such other relief as the Court may deem just and equitable.
The Civil Cover Sheet
The noted Civil Cover Sheet above pertains to one of two cases as does the Summons noted below.
GODFREY & KAHN, S.C. filed the complaint with the court on behalf of Apple, Inc. on October 29, 2010. WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP is acting counsel. Apple seeks a trial by jury. The presiding Judge in this case is Stephen L. Crocker. See our Legal Archives for related cases.
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Update Oct. 31, 2010: For the sake of little fun, here's a graph illustrating a basic overview or perhaps better yet, a snapshot in time, of who's suing who in the mobile space. Of course you'd have to add a new arrow from Apple to Motorola in order to complete the graph as of this date. The graphic was a part of an October 5, 2010 report from The Gaurdian.
Update - Nov 23, 2010: Apple patent case against Motorola will be reviewed by the US International Trade Commission.
Mac and Other Community Sites Covering our Original Report
MacSurfer, Apple Investor News, Redmond Pie, Tech Spy, MacWorld Sweden, Google Reader, Techmeme, Gizmodo, MacDailyNews, 9 to 5 Mac, BlogsDNA, BGR, Softpedia, Webscopia, Touch Review, Macplus France, pocketnow, WWWery, Engadget, androidcentral, iPhoneHellas Greece, CoveringWeb, Mashable, Between the Lines (ZDNet), iClarified, Macmagazine Brazil, Actualidad iPhone Spanish, AllThingsD (Wall Street Journal), Computerworld, Ringo Sanco Japan, PCWorld, MacRumors, AppAdvice, Modmyi, phoneArena, CNET, TheStreet.com, The Register UK, winandmac Hong Kong China, iPhoneBlog Germany, Golem Germany, Slashdot, Apple 2.0 (Fortune/CNN Money), IT Viikko Finland, The Standard Austria, Phonesreview UK, Linux and Open Source (a counter view), TechGeek Australia, Android Community, Telephonino Italy, MacGadget Germany, ConceivablyTech, Melamorsicata Italy, AreaMobile Germany, MacTechNews Germany, SvD Sweden, eWeek, Ars Technica, TelecomsEurope, LentaRu Russia, Network World, MacObserver, Dziennik Internautow Poland, Macworld, 20 Minutes France, Digital Trends, and more.
@ird I doubt you'll have a technological edge over anyone with the mentality you have towards technologies. Are you so devout that you refuse to use youtube or maps? Those are google technologies.
Google acquired the android team back in 2005, so your assertion that android wouldn't exist without iphone is ridiculous considering it was around 2 years before the first iphone release.
I'm not sure why you keep mentioning Google in an article about a lawsuit between Motorola and Apple. Google isn't being sued for IP infringement.
Posted by: x | October 30, 2010 at 07:17 PM
@Q: I can't believe you used cut & paste as example of how competition drives innovation. Pretty lame to me. And as for not buying any Apple products, that's ok with me. I'm always looking for the technological edges over others- you being one of them.
As for Google, an innovation, without the iPhone, Google and their partners would be still twiddling their thumbs at small keyboards and wondering how to incorporate Flash onto Blacberries. Basically Google and their partners openly feel that intellectual property is secondary when it effects their ability to stay revelent; when others try to directly to steal their IP, like in China, they get offended. Talk about being two-face!
Posted by: lrd | October 30, 2010 at 02:59 PM
@The_Omega_Man wow you do not look at the news, once the iPhone is on Verizon Android's market share will become irrelevant, unless they pull a rabbit out of the hat with 3.0 and make it polished enough to compete head on with iOS.
Apple is in the cat bird seat when it comes to UI and demand for it's phones, Android only sells well when it is the only choice (Verizon to date) or when it is much less expensive (2 for one deals on the last generation.
More to the point is the fact that Apple is on the outs with regard to patent pools by Motorola and Nokia with regard to basic cell phone technology, and all the others are in trouble if Apple's multi-touch patents are not invalidated.
The problem for the Nokia / Motorola / cell phone group is they have already set precedent by offering relatively low licensing fee's for others, while Apple does not yet have precedent setting fees for their Multi-touch patent portfolio.
Posted by: Ken Berger | October 30, 2010 at 01:59 PM
A desperate attempt by Apple to stave off Motorola from their lawsuit. Apple is running scared thanks to Google and Android. Apple doesn't welcome competition, they loathe it. If Google can get Nokia on board with using Android, the circle will be complete, and Apple will be in the same place that they are in the PC market: A distant second or third. These silly IP lawsuits will not stop the Android Army.
Posted by: The_Omega_Man | October 30, 2010 at 01:08 PM
@Ird, to your point about bringing Google down. Why is this important? I personally wouldn't want to buy Apple products. Are you saying it some how makes sense to have one company make all smartphones. If that's the case, I guarantee the iphone would not currently have copy and paste or a host of other features that were brought sooner rather than later. I agree with recognition and compensation where due but the idea that Google should crush Apple or Apple should crush Google makes no sense.
Posted by: Q | October 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM
Between the iPAD at Verizon & AT&T and iPhone coming to Verizon in a couple of months plus the HTC & now Motorola lawsuits, Apple's surely to bring Android down to nothing.
And not to mention Oracle's direct assault on Google.
Posted by: lrd | October 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM
Finally!!!! It is about time Apple defends itself from rip off artists. Eventually Google needs to be nailed.
Good for Apple.
Posted by: Justice will Prevail | October 30, 2010 at 11:31 AM
This is very interesting. The compulsory counterclaims in the Motorola-initiated case will still be filed by Apple in that particular case. However, the compulsory nature of those infringement claims only extend to the patents initially raised by Motorola in the Declaratory Judgment action.
Apple is still free to file an offensive case of infringement against Motorola on different patents, in a different jurisdiction.
That is what Apple has done here. They have determined another list of patents is infringed by Motorola and has chosen to address those assertions in a venue of its own choosing. Very interesting, because the Western District of Wisconsin is considered to be an alternative "Rocket Docket" jurisdiction option (similar to the Eastern District of Texas). It is likely also considered more "plaintiff friendly", like the Eastern District of Texas.
This is a meaningful expression of might by Apple. Motorola has opened the flood gates on this infringement issue by attacking Apple's patents in the original suit. "Mutually Assured Destruction" anyone?
There will likely be some legal wrangling to determine if all of the cases will be moved to a single jurisdiction, especially by Motorola. This is common when you have suits venued in different jurisdictions that are directed to the same incident of infringement or products (e.g., Droid platforms).
Posted by: Matt | October 30, 2010 at 10:45 AM