Apple’s latest cunning move in its Holy Crusade against Android involves getting a court order to force Google, the maker of Android software, to produce documents detailing the Android roadmap and its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of handset maker Motorola Mobility. It was not immediately clear what data Apple was exactly seeking to uncover. This is notable, because Apple is actually going after Google with this request. It is the first direct in the ongoing legal war considering Apple fought Google by proxy in the past.
According to Bloomberg, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner ruled yesterday based on a patent lawsuit Apple filed in 2010 against Motorola that both Motorola and Google must spill relevant information to Apple, as “the Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.” Motorola, of course, opposed the request, offering the following argument.
Per Motorola’s lawyers representing the company in this case, Google has not yet acquired the handset maker and it “cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google’s objections.” Judge Posner scheduled two trials before separate juries beginning June 11. The first will cover six patent infringements brought by Apple and the other will address three Motorola patents. Though Apple never directly sued Google, its patent infringement claims filed against various Android handset makers clearly target Android as the infringing software entity—thus indirectly implicating the Internet giant.
Google has long maintained that its acquisition of Motorola is aimed at “supercharging Android” and not getting into the handset business at the cost of other Android backers. Both the European Commission and the United States Department of Justice recently cleared the transaction. However, Microsoft stepped in last month asking that the European Union antitrust regulators probe Motorola Mobility on claims that the handset maker is blocking sales of Windows and Xbox products by not making industry standard patents available on reasonable and fair terms and for using those patents to block competitors from shipping products.