Motorola sues Apple

A couple of days after it was sued by Microsoft in a patent dispute, Motorola has decided that it will feel much better if it does the same thing to Apple.

Motorola is moaning to a judge that the iPhone, iPad and some Macs infringe 18 patents “which relate to early-stage innovations developed by Motorola in key technology areas”.

The outfit’s subsidiary, handset division Motorola Mobility, has filed complaints with the US International Trade Commission and courts in Illinois, where the company has its headquarters, and the southern state of Florida.

The patents that Motorola has got its knickers in a twist about relate to antenna design, wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronisation.

Motorola wants the ITC to launch an investigation into Apple’s alleged use of Motorola patents and bar the importation and sale of infringing products in the United States. This is pretty much standard these days as most companies make their goods in China and ship them over. Ironically if Apple was making stuff in the US, it would be immune to this action.

Kirk Dailey, Motorola Mobility’s corporate vice president of intellectual property said in a statement that Motorola has “innovated and patented throughout every cycle of the telecommunications industry evolution and has tens of thousands of patents in the US and worldwide.”

Apple came in late, but for some reason failed to acknowledge that it was scrambling on the back of giants.  Allegedly, Motorola engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple had a problem that it thought it had invented everything and refused to take a licence.

These days patent lawsuits are becoming a regular method of doing business in the same way that a caveman hitting someone over the head and dragging them back to their cave was a method of saying “I love you”.

Last week Microsoft accused Motorola of violating its patents in mobile phones powered by Google’s Android operating system.

Apple is also being sued by the former rubber boot maker Nokia for patent infringement, Apple has sued it in reply. HTC and Apple are also currently suing each other over similar claims.

Canada’s Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, and Motorola recently buried the hatchet in a long round of patent battles.