Patently Apple was first to report that, late Friday, Apple filed two patent infringement lawsuits against Motorola in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, both mentioning the Droid by name. One lawsuit accuses Motorola of infringing on Apple’s multitouch patents. The other targets Motorola’s alleged infringement of patents covering smartphone user interface elements.
According to Patently Apple, the mobile devices that are accused of infringing one or more of Apple’s patents: Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, Devour i1, Charm.
Patent number 7,497,949 titled “Touch Screen Device, Method and Graphical User Interface for Determining Commands by Applying Heuristics” has been used by Apple to file a lawsuit against HTC.
Apple’s now seriously engaged in litigation with the two largest Android handset makers (HTC and Motorola), largely over OS-level patents. At some point Google has to get involved, if only to indemnify its partners against further liability for using Android, and we can’t help but think Apple and Google are eventually bound to face off directly. Or perhaps not — by suing Android handset makers, Apple’s essentially putting a tax on Android without having to further muddy up its complex competitor / partner relationship with Google by adding in a major lawsuit.
From what I can remember, Apple had a considerable lead with the original Macintosh. Microsoft, with Windows, copied at will all of the GUI elements as well as how the user interacted with the OS. Apple sued but I don’t think the company was as aggressive as it could have been. Apple is in a similar situation with its iOS mobile operating system and this time I think the company will aggressively defend its intellectual properties pertaining to iOS. I think it is obvious that the pre-iPhone and post-iPhone markets are vastly different precisely because of the creative work of individuals at Apple. Copying is the greatest form of flattery but this time it will probably cost, a lot.