As you probably know, Google’s Motorola filed new patent lawsuit against Apple on Friday, accusing that iPhone maker is infringing on 7 more patents.
Since the documents were delivered to U.S. International Trade Commission late in the day on Friday, we could only guess which patents Motorola decided to use this time. Today ITC made all the documents public. We check-out the patents at play in this lawsuit. And also looked at Motorola’s claim construction, to see with which products, and which features exactly Google’s subsidiary thinks Apple infringes.
Here’s what we found:
Patent No. 5,883,580 “Geographic-temporal significant messaging”
This patent, issued on March 16th, 1999 talks about “messaging devices that process messages logically for a user in the context of space and time”. Translated from legalese – it’s about your iPhone being able to display geographically relevant messages when you are at a certain place. E.g. traffic alerts when you are near the congested intersection, ability to schedule reminders when you are approaching your workplace or leaving your home, getting a pop-up to remember to buy some milk when you are in a grocery store, etc;
Patent No. 5,922,047 “Apparatus, method and system for multimedia control and communication”
The ‘047 patent, issued on July 13, 199 is really broad and, according to Motorola, covers such basic device functionality as being able to launch and use any media application, while also being a phone. E.g. tapping on video player icon on iPhone 4S constitutes infringement, because it means that your phone switches to another operating mode (video player) among many (telephone, music player, browser, etc;), in response to a first control signal (tapping on a video icon) and, after video player launches, it is controlled via multiple other control signals – e.g tap to Pause/Play, Fast Forward, etc;
Patent No. 6,425,002 “Apparatus and method for handling dispatching messages for various applications of a communication device”
‘002 patent was issued on July 23, 2002 and covers the API for routing incoming and outgoing messages to the correct applications. Motorola thinks that Apple’s Push Notification functionality, allowing your apps to automatically send and receive push messages, is covered by ththis patent and infringes on it.
Patent No. 6,493,673 “Markup language for interactive services and methods thereof”
This patent, issued on Dec. 10, 2002 covers interactive voice services delivered over the internet, and goes after Siri. Motorola does not care much about the artificial intelligence and all other fancy stuff Siri does. According to the patent claims, Motorola has invented the basic interactive dialog process Siri uses. And the way Apple renders XML files to allow you talk to Siri, is a no no without a license. “Siri, set a reminder for 2, tomorrow”, “2PM or 2AM”, “2PM” , “OK, setting reminder for 2PM on Wednesday, Aug. 22nd” . Doesn’t matter how Siri figures out what to ask and what to tell you. Simply by performing this dialog, and using a markup language to do it – Siri infringes. Or at least that’s what Motorola claims.
Patent No. 6,983,370 “System for providing continuity between messaging clients and method therefor”
The ‘370 patent, issued on January 3d, 2006 talks about seamless IM session switching between various devices, and says that all iMessage capable devices are infringing on it. Started your iMessage chat on your MacBook, then continued it on the way to work on your iPhone? Google says that the way Apple does this – by storing your chat data on its servers and then transferring the chat data from MacBook to iPhone – is Moto’s invention. This patent is also part of Motorola’s litigation with Microsoft in U.S.
Patent No. 7,007,064 “Method and apparatus for obtaining and managing wirelessly communicated content”
‘064 patent, issued on Feb 28, 2006 goes after e-mail syncing between your Macs and iOS devices via iCloud. It is a rather narrow patent, and only insists that the way Apple keeps your e-mails in sync, by deleting messages on one of your igadgets when you delete that same message on the other, is an infringing use.
Patent No. 7,383,983 “System and method for managing content between devices in various domains”
This patent covers the ability to pause video or audio playback on your iPad, and then resume playing the content from the same place on a different iDevice.
None of the patents above are standards essential, so they won’t have to be licensed to Apple under restrictive FRAND terms. And the whole batch, taken together, looks pretty impressive. Motorola also filed a parallel suit with the same patents in District Court of Delaware.
Will they be enough to turn the tide for Google in “Everyone else vs Android” patent wars of this decade? Maybe, maybe not.
At this point in the litigation, it is very difficult to know. We’ll have to wait and see what is left of the patent claims as they are whittled in FCC and Delaware proceedings. After all, Sun/Oracle invented Java. The database giant thought it had a pretty good case claiming that Google ripped them off almost wholesale, demanding billions in damages. But couldn’t prove anything in court.
Let’s wait and see how this case goes.
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