Skyhook sues Google over WiFi location contracts and patents

Skyhook Wireless is suing Google for infringing on patents associated with its location-finding technology based on WiFi access points and interfering with contracts Skyhook had made with handset vendors such as Motorola. 

In a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts state court, Skyhook contends that Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, called Motorola Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha after the vendor announced a partnership with Skyhook in April. According to Skyhook Rubin added new requirements that made Skyhook in violation of the Android licensing terms despite the fact that Google had previously approved Skyhook's technology on Android phones. Skyhook also claims that Rubin insisted that all Android phones include both Skyhook and Google's own technology, Google Location Services.

The requirement increases development costs for phone vendors, and in a move to avoid any issues with its popular Android devices, Motorola opted to remove Skyhook's software in favor of Google's, Skyhook said in its lawsuit. Skyhook also claims that another device maker removed its technology, presumably Samsung Electronics, since the company made announcement with the handset vendor in July.

"Skyhook and Google are competitors in the location positioning space. There was a time when Google tried to compete fairly with Skyhook. But once Google realized its positioning technology was not competitive, it chose other means to undermine Skyhook and damage and attempt to destroy its position in the marketplace for location positioning technology," reads the lawsuit.

Skyhook is also suing Google in a Boston district court over four patents related to its location technology and is seeking unspecified damages and an order to ban Google from using it's patents.

Google told Bloomberg that it had not yet seen the lawsuits.

For more:
- check out this Bloomberg article
- see this GigaOm article

Related articles:
Motorola taps Skyhook for location services
Samsung inks location tech deal with Skyhook Wireless
Skyhook Adds Location Engine to Layar App for Android

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