updated 07:50 am EST, Thu February 24, 2011
Moto Xoom drops plan but gets trademark lawsuit
Verizon on Thursday began selling the Motorola Xoom and offered an olive branch to users. The company has responded to near-universal complaints over plan requirements and told Electronista it will no longer force those paying the off-contract $800 price to pay for at least a month of service to get Wi-Fi. The savings will slash the $55 minimum of 'hidden' fees for both the month of 3G and activation.
The $600 contract pricing by its nature still requires service and activation. Apple's iPad is still considerably less expensive and costs about $70 less for a 32GB version, which should become competitive in hardware features next week. Most don't expect Apple to change the price.
Motorola nonetheless faced a new setback as it was sued on Wednesday for trademark infringement. Xoom Corporation filed a complaint in a Northern District of California court accusing Motorola of "willful and intentional" misuse of its name. The company primarily handles online money transfers but has filed trademarks since 2004.
Motorola hasn't commented on the lawsuit but may have assumed that a tablet was in a different category and wouldn't clash with the trademark.
Xoom Corporation hasn't specified particular sums for reparation but has called for "treble damages" (triple) and a preliminary injunction that would ban the Xoom tablet from sale during the course of the trial. Unlike patent troll suits, Xoom the company is believed to be going for more than just cash and has hired the top-tier legal firm Morgan Lewis to represent itself for the case.
The case is unlikely to go through a complete trial due to the consequences for Motorola of jeopardizing its only tablet's chances. It may reach a deal with Xoom Corporation but could also try for a summary judgment that would rule the suit invalid if it can persuade the court that the trademark is in the wrong category. [lawsuit via Florian Mueller]