Motorola asks court to block Apple patents in HTC suit

The mobile patent wars got a little more complicated.

Motorola (NYSE:MOT) asked a federal judge in Delaware to invalidate 11 Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patents in Apple's patent dispute with HTC, a move that intensifies the legal wrangling over Google's Android operating system.

Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Motorola that will house the company's handset and set-top box units when the company splits early next year, took the action in an attempt to pre-empt a potential countersuit by Apple against Motorola. Essentially, Motorola argued in its suit, the complaints that Apple brought against HTC in March do not apply to Motorola. 

Apple sued HTC earlier this year, claiming that the Taiwanese smartphone maker infringed on 20 of its patents (HTC countersued). The suit against HCT was widely seen as an indirect attack on Google. Motorola has staked its comeback on smartphones running Android.

The new action by Motorola is separate from the legal action it took against Apple earlier this month. Motorola accused Apple of infringing on 18 of its patents, the latest in a string of patent battles between smartphone makers. Motorola alleged Apple's MobileMe service and its App Store violate Motorola patents covering a range of technologies, including wireless email, proximity sensing, application management, location-based services and the ability to sync multiple devices. In addition to filing lawsuits against Apple in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois and in the Southern District of Florida, Motorola lodged a complain with the U.S International Trade Commission.

Courtrooms around the country are playing host to a number of such disputes among wireless players.

For more:
- see this Patently Apple post
- see this Ars Technica post
- see this Electronista post

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