Where will this all end? Both Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) are sitting on billions in cash and seem intent on blowing a good part of it on lawyers.
In the latest installment, Apple today sued Motorola (NYSE: MMI) Mobility in an attempt to force the Google subsidiary to stop using its patents against Apple in Germany. Or more simply, Apple filed an American lawsuit to stop a German lawsuit. Got that?
This latest ripple in the smartphone sagas grows out of Motorola/Google’s decision to sue Apple over one of its German FRAND patents.
For the uninitiated, FRAND (Fair Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) rules are used when a group of companies decide to create an industry-wide standard. To prevent one company in the industry group using a patent to extort the others, all the companies will agree that any patents related to the standard must be shared at a fair price.
In the Apple case, the FRAND patent at issue relates which to a broadband processor made by Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) that Apple uses in the iPhone 4S and other devices.
Motorola claimed the Qualcomm chip infringes one its patents and briefly obtained an order to stop Apple from using the chips. That order was suspended and today it appears to have been overturned.
In the action filed today in San Diego, Apple seeks a declaration forbidding Motorola from suing over the Qualcomm patent in Germany. The company also wants to declare that Qualcomm has a license to the Motorola patent in question and that Motorola breached a contract when it sued Apple.
Here’s the complaint: