Apple is at it again in the US with a new string of legal patent squabbles. The company has filed a new infringement suit against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and features of the Android 4.0 operating system, and another lawsuit against Motorola over Motorola’s legal actions against Apple in Germany over 3G-related patents. With Google close to finalizing its acquisition of Motorola, both suits constitute a blow at Google and its mobile business.
The Galaxy Nexus suit covers four patents that Apple had filed for, three of which were filed in the last few months. The first patent (the oldest) covers ways for the OS to mark up content (such as phone numbers in an e-mail) and open a new app from that content (such as by clicking on the phone number). Apple successfully sued HTC for using this functionality in its phones two months ago. The remaining three patents relate to Siri and the OS’s use of unified search, the use of slide-to-unlock, and word completion for text entry, respectively.
The second lawsuit continues the Apple and Motorola soap opera that started in Germany. Motorola had asked that Apple pay a 2.25 percent royalty on each iPhone and iPad sold in exchange for the use of Motorola’s 3G-related patents. However, a judge in Germany ruled in Apple’s favor. Now Apple is suing Motorola in the US over those same 3G patents, claiming that Motorola’s actions in Germany violated one of Motorola’s patent licensing agreements with Qualcomm. Apple claims that as a customer of Qualcomm, they are a third-party beneficiary of the Motorola-Qualcomm agreement, so Motorola shouldn’t be allowed to sue Apple over the 3G patents. Apple uses Qualcomm chips inside the iPhone 4S.
Here’s hoping (however unlikely it may be) that these are the last in a long line of lawsuits plaguing the international mobile phone industry.