The Patent Wars. We're going to be talking about these like Obi Wan Kenobi spoke about the Clone Wars in the Prequel Trilogy. Whether or not we're going to sound quite so ominous is down to how you tell stories but, one thing is for sure, these Patent Wars have the potential to change the face of mobile software, for good. With Apple hell-bent on suing everybody when it comes to a device with a touch screen or a tablet with a minimal design, it looks like software – hardware to a lesser extent – may need to change in order for the lifetime of these devices to be peaceful. Of course, we're no stranger to these sorts of happenings now, with the recent Google v Oracle case as well as the still ongoing Apple v Samsung case.
Now, however it looks like Google are looking to take the fight to Apple, thanks to their recent acquistion of Motorola Mobility the firm can now use these new patents to go at Apple with gusto. Of course, you could well be thinking why Google needs to "go after" Apple but, let's not forget that it's not Samsung Apple are attacking when they file for litigation, nor is it HTC etc. What the Cupertino firm is really going after is Android and they're doing it the only way they can, by taking shots at Google's footsoldiers. Google can't be happy with this because, if Android's reputation is under attack, then so too is the amount of potential people to become users of their services, exactly what Google wanted all along.
Motorola Mobility have filed a fresh case against Apple at the International Trade Commission down in Washington that the company hopes will, within 15 months time, secure a sales ban on pretty much everything Apple are selling right now. This includes the iPhone – right from the 3GS to the 4S – as well as the iPod Touch, the iPad 2 and the "new" iPad, Macs pro and mini, and both MacBooks Pro and Air. Basically, anything "which utilizes wireless communication technologies to manage various messages and content". When the news of this broke, there was very few details, as the ITC had yet to publicly release the complaint filed. Now, TechCrunch have gone through the patents in question and taken a toothcomb to them. Let's see just what Motorola are taking Apple on with.
- 5,922,047: "The '047 Patent generally relates to communications and control systems for multimedia." From the abstract: "In the preferred embodiment the multimedia control apparatus provides for control over a plurality of media applications including telephony, video conferencing, analog video, digital video, and AC power line signaling (for control over premise or subscriber equipment such as HVAC lighting security and entertainment)." Every iPhone and iPad currently in the market infringes upon this patent according to Motorola.
- 5,883,580: "The '580 Patent generally relates to messaging devices that process messages logically for a user in the context of space and time." From the abstract: "This invention relates in general to selective call messaging devices and more specifically to messaging devices that process messages logically for a user in the context of space and time ." The target here seems to be Apple's location reminders and Motorola specifically argues that the iPhone 4 and 4S infringe upon this patent.
- 6,983,370: "The '370 Patent generally relates to communication systems incorporating capabilities to provide continuity between messaging clients. More specifically, the '370 Patent relates to the ability to sync the messaging capabilities of multiple devices." Unsurprisingly, given that this patent is about syncing, Motorola alleges that every Apple device in the market right now, with the exception of the iPod line and Apple TV, infringes upon this patent.
- 6,425,002: "The '002 Patent generally relates to communications devices that ensure applications installed therein only receive messages that are of interest." From the abstract: "A communications device with a processor having instructions that execute on the processor. The programmed instructions include a message manager program for accepting and dispatching messages, one or more application programs for handling and presenting messages; and one or more message client programs that receive messages from the message manager program and provides them to the application program. The message manager program accepts a registration from each message client program and sets rules, and message attributes to which the rules are to be applied for new messages."
- 7,007,064: "The '064 Patent generally relates to wireless communications systems for providing content to wireless communications devices. In particular, the '064 Patent discloses, inter alia, an apparatus and method for obtaining and managing wirelessly communicated content."
- 6,493,673: "The '673 Patent generally relates to communications devices that are capable of providing interactive services. The patent discloses, inter alia, providing prompt element including an announcement to be read to a user, and an input element that allows an audible user input to be converted into text string." From the abstract: "The present invention relates to a markup language document stored on a computer-readable medium to provide interactive services and methods thereof. The markup language comprises a dialog element and a step element. The dialog element includes markup language elements in which each markup language element is identifiable by one or more markup tags. The step element is contained within the dialog element and defines a state within the dialog element. The step element includes a prompt element, an input element, and a first attribute. The prompt element includes an announcement to be read to the user, and the input element includes an attribute to allow an audible user input to be converted to a text string.
We'll be covering more news as it comes, this certainly doesn't look like the type of complaint to be done and dusted within a month, Motorola themselves have laid down a 15 month timeline so, don't expect anything finalised just yet.