updated 07:50 pm EDT, Mon September 12, 2011
Google-Motorola deal used by Apple to fight suits
Apple on Friday used Google's own strategy against it by motioning to try and stop Motorola's countersuits. The filings in both Florida and Wisconsin courts argues that Google's $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola has resulted in a "fundamental loss" of rights for Motorola in the meantime. Google's terms allegedly limit Motorola's ability to enforce patents and make deals in a way that, even if Apple won, could be overturned once Google takes ownership of patents and legal controls.
Google also reportedly couldn't interject in the period before the merger closes to make sure it stays valid. Under current terms, Google has "no right even to practice the patents," let alone license them, Apple said.
To establish precedent, Google pointed to a case of Google's own, in which it along with other Internet firms pushed to have a patent lawsuit from Software Rights Archive halted over a lack of standing.
Timing may be the core of Motorola opposition to the motions due shortly. Motorola's earliest lawsuit starts on April 30 next year and may still arrive before the Google deal closes, keeping Google out of any case before it starts. The Droid creator may equally try to argue that some or all of the case might be given a summary judgment before the trial begins and would never involve Google.
Apple is likely gambling that the motions, regardless of their chances to succeed, could be worth the attempt. If Motorola was ruled temporarily ineligible to sue due to the Google deal, only Apple's cases would stand and would almost invariably lead to Motorola deciding to settle rather than risk even a partial loss.
Google bought Motorola under the claims of protecting Android by giving it leverage to respond to lawsuits. The deal doesn't affect existing cases, however, and even denied Apple motions could leave it with few choices if Motorola loses. [via Florian Mueller]