Blog Post

Apple Fights Back in Motorola Legal Battle

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Apple (s aapl) has filed suit against Motorola (s mot), claiming the Droid-maker infringed on patents held by Apple relating to smartphone technologies. It’s a return fire gesture by Cupertino, since Motorola filed suit first against the Mac maker last month.

TheAppleBlog reported in October that Apple was the target of a Motorola lawsuit for infringement on 18 patents, including various smartphone issues, including antenna design. Holding to the idea that “the best defense is a good offense,” Apple not only isn’t taking that filing lightly, but is fighting back with a lawsuit of its own.

In a nine-page filing with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on Friday, Apple asked for action in response to the violation of various patents surrounding the iPhone’s touch screen and user interface. Apple identified, among others, the Droid, Cliq, and Backflip handsets as culprits in the infringement. It states in the filed documents, “Motorola’s actions have caused and will continue to cause irreparable harm, for which it has no adequate remedy at law, unless their infringing activities are enjoined.”

To consumers, given the great number of lawsuits thrown around between technology companies of this size, the recent filings may not seem significant.  Usually, court rulings simply ask the defendant to pay a certain sum to the plaintiff, and the amount is generally quite small when measured against the profit margins of these companies.

As phones grow increasingly similar in design and user interface, and the tech related to them grows more refined, you have to wonder if the legal system will continue to allow companies to use such closely related designs for small penalties, or will instead more strongly defend the rights of patent holders.

With Apple’s recent move to number four on the global mobile-phone manufacturer list, and Motorola’s fall to number seven, it’s apparent both have great deal at stake in the market. Accordingly, the legal battles between the two (and among others) will likely continue to heat up as companies fight to secure IP that could give them the upper hand.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):