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Apple legal guns targeting the Motorola Xoom

Motorola Xoom

Apple rocked the mobile world yesterday by getting a preliminary injunction that blocks the sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in most of Europe—and, it turns out, tucked away in Apple’s complaint against Samsung is an indication Apple is also going after Motorola for its Android-based Xoom tablet. First noticed by FOSS Patents, Apple also indicates it has filed complaints in the EU against Motorola over the design of the Motorola Xoom, as well as a German company (JAY-tech).

The complaint provides no indication of the timing of Apple’s complaint against Motorola, but the action is likely part of a wider legal battle between Motorola and Apple. Last year, Motorola sued Apple claiming its iOS devices violated some 18 Motorola patents; Apple quickly fired back with a suit over half a dozen multitouch display patents Apple claims are violated by Motorola’s Droid handsets. The U.S. Internation Trade Commission agreed to look into Apple’s complaints.

The ongoing litigation highlights the high tensions in the mobile technology industry: Apple is engaged in patent battles with a number of companies (including HTC, Kodak, and Samsung), while Android device makers are also feeling pressure from Microsoft, which is urging them to pay royalties on every device sold to protect against possible future litigation. In the meantime, Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond published a screed decrying the state of the patent system, saying it was stifling innovation and patents were being used as a weapon to attack Android. Many industry watchers have taken issue with Drummond’s stance, noting that Google only seems to think patents are bad if Google gets charged with violating them.

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