The New Apple vs. Motorola Battlefield: The Courtroom

Patently Apple is reporting that Apple, Inc. filed court documents on Friday against Motorola, Inc.

According to papers filed in Wisconsin Western District Court, Apple, Inc. has grievances against Motorola smartphones produced over the last year. The concerned devices include, but may not be limited to the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, Devour i1, and Charm1.

Apples concerns are not limited to the physical device. Court documents indicate that not only is the hardware a potential injury to Apple, but also the associated software, that includes the operating systems (Android), user interfaces, and other application software, and also the means by which software is installed on the smartphone.

Motorola is catching heat from all directions, most recently from Apple. Microsoft launched its own lawsuit the first week of October against Motorola over the use of the Android operating system.

Google is also caught in the lawsuit fervor, as Oracle launched its own suit against Google and Android. Oracle claims that Android contains intellectual property that Google does not have the right to use.

Whether operating system, the user interface, touch-sensitive screens, or the application store, Motorola and Android appear beset from all directions.

Users may not consider this, but the way a smartphone operates can be patented. For example, the technique of using the fore-finger and thumb to expand an image can be a copyrighted movement. So can the act of flipping from page-to-page, or using a single finger to swipe from one page of apps to another.

It is these types of user activities, in part, that Apple is seeking damages from. As Patently Apple states, the suit is not limited to only the user interface.

Not to over-exaggerate, but the future of smartphone devices hangs in the balance, at least somewhat, if Apple is able to solidify a case against Motorola.

How other device vendors, such as HTC, Blackberry, or Samsung will fare is unclear. These companies also have devices that work in similar ways. Why Apple limited its suit to Motorola alone is also unclear. And, how the new Windows 7 Phones will hide from Apples legal gaze, again, is not clear. Many questions, and few answers, so stayed tuned.

Copyright (c) 2010 Michael Busby of Gather.com

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