Here’s How Motorola is Trying to Trip Up Apple

The U.S. International Trade Commission has formally begun investigating Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) under a patent-infringement complaint filed by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) unit Motorola. The ITC in a statement that a ruling will come at the “earliest practicable time” and that a target date for completion will be set within 45 days after the investigation begins.

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Motorola said in a complaint filed on August 17 that Apple devices infringe seven of its patents related to features such as voice commands, location reminders, e-mail notifications, and phone-based video players. It has asked for a ban on U.S. imports of infringing Apple devices from their manufacturing centers in Asia.

The unit, bought by Google in May for $12.5 billion, is also hoping to eventually force Apple to negotiate a cross-licensing deal, according to Bloomberg. Talks broke down in 2010 after Apple said Motorola was making unreasonable demands for royalties of 2.25 percent of the retail price of every device.

“We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations,” Motorola said in a statement issued in August.

The two have been involved in other cases against each other at the trade agency. Apple is appealing an earlier loss that claimed Motorola’s Android phones infringed Apple patents, while the Google unit lost a separate case against the iPhone maker on the issue of wireless patents.

The latest complaint from Motorola will not affect the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4S, or the new iPad with 4G connectivity as these devices use chipsets that fall outside of Motorola’s patent claims.

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