Google Sues Apple; Dog Bites Man (GOOG, AAPL)

The Motorola unit of Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) has filed a claim with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking an import ban on foreign-made products by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The case would apply to iPhone, iPad and iTouch products.

No specific information is available at the ITC web site yet, but unlike many other lawsuits and claims in the smartphone sector, this one does not center on what are known as "standards-essential" patents. A standards-essentials patent is expected to be shared - or licensed reasonably easily - among the firms that compete in the sector.

Google's claims against Apple reportedly involve infringement on location reminders, email notifications, video playback and the voice recognition Siri software. Essentially every mobile device Apple sells in the United States is covered by Google's patent claims.

This is surely a shot across the bow of Apple as the company prepares to send its patent lawsuits against Samsung Electronics to a jury. In a rational world, Apple, Google, Samsung, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and all the other patent holders would agree to cross-license at least the standards-essential technology, and that may still happen with smartphones. But first we have to watch a bit of strutting, posing and muscle-flexing.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Electronics, Law, Telecom Tagged: AAPL, GOOG, NOK