Apple Inc (AAPL), Google Inc (GOOG) Declares Truce; Settles Motorola Patent Disputes

Apple Cupertino headquarters

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) declared peace and decided to dismiss the patent lawsuits filed against each other involving Motorola Mobility, the smartphone subsidiary of the search engine giant. The iPhone maker had been engaged in mobile patent disputes against Motorola Mobility since October 2010.

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) declared a “thermo nuclear war” against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) after the search engine giant launched its Android operating system. He was upset because the Google started to compete against his company in the smartphone market.

Patent infringement cases

Motorola Mobility filed two patent infringement case against Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) with the International Trade Commission (ITC) involving seven patents including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players in 2010. It also filed lawsuits against the iPhone maker involving 18 patents in the United States Northern District Court of Illinois and Southern District Court of Florida.

On the other hand, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility with the ITC involving three patents, and it also filed charges in the Western District Court of Wisconsin and counter lawsuits in the Southern District Court of Florida involving six patents.

In 2011, the companies also sued each other in the courts of Germany. In 2012, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed a complaint against Motorola Mobility at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition that concerning standard-essential patents.

In September 2012,  A court in Germany ruled in favor of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)  on the lawsuit filed against Motorola Mobility involving the patent on rubber-banding technology, which makes a page on mobile device pop up and down after a user swipes it down to the bottom of the screen. Motorola Mobility dropped its second patent infringement case against the iPhone Maker with the ITC the following month.

In November 2012, The Western District Court of Wisconsin dismissed with prejudice Apple’s patent infringement complaint against Motorola Mobility with prejudice citing that the “case cannot proceed to trial on remaining issue.”  Back then, a spokesperson for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) said, “We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice. Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and nondiscriminatory rate, in line with industry standards. We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.”

Google sold Motorola Mobility but retained majority of its patents

Early this year, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) already completed the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo Group Limited (ADR) (OTCMKTS: LNVGY) for $2.91 billion.  The search engine giant kept most of the patents of Motorola Mobility as part the agreement.

It took more than a year for the tech giants to finally declare a truce on their patent disputes since the spokesperson of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) stated that the search engine giant is still interested reaching a settlement agreement with Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Apple and Google agreed to work on some areas of patent reform

In a statement, the iPhone maker and the search engine giant said they both “agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies,” as quoted by Bloomberg.

The tech giant added, “Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license.”

Commenting on the agreement, Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC said, “It’s always in the interest of consumers when cooler heads prevail. Anything that can make the ecosystem more interoperable and for people to kind of easily move from one ecosystem to another is good for everyone.”