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March 6, 2012

Judge asks Google, Motorola to hand over sensitive documents to Apple

According to a Bloomberg news report, Google and Motorola have been ordered by a US judge to handover documents related to development of the Android operating system to Google. The two companies have also been asked to handover documents relating to the merger of Google with Motorola.

The fight has its root in the lawsuit filed by Apple against HTC in March 2010 claiming that HTC's products infringed on 10 of Apple's patents.

The fight between Apple and Motorola started when Motorola filed a lawsuit against Apple in October 2010 claiming that iPhones, iPads, iPod touches and even some Mac violated Motorola's patents. In total, Motorola's four complaints cited 18 patents, which according to it were infringed.

Later Motorola joined the Apple-HTC lawsuit asking the judge to invalidate 20 of Apple's patents on its products.

After this Apple turned its attention towards Motorola, and in the same month, October 2010, filed two lawsuits against Motorola claiming that its products violated six of Apple's multi-touch and OS patents.

This particular case relates to the October 2010 lawsuit filed by Apple.

Preliminary court judgment
In a March 2 filing, Apple's attorneys had asked for the documents stating “The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses."

The judge apparently agreed with the assertion, and has asked Motorola and its soon-to-be-parent Google to submit sensitive documents related to the development of Android as well as related to the merger between the two companies. 

Google is so far not a party to the lawsuit but the judge expected that because of their relationship Motorola should submit those documents stating “Motorola shall be expected to obtain full and immediate compliance by Google with Apple’s liability discovery demands.”

Judge proposes...Motorola opposes
 As expected Motorola has opposed the request arguing that Google and Motorola are two different companies saying “Google’s employees and documents are not within the ‘possession, custody, or control’ of Motorola, and Motorola cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google’s objections.” Google has so far not commented on the judgment.

The judge has next round of the case is scheduled to be held in June 2012,  which will address the issue of six Apple patents and three Motorola patents, according to Bloomberg.

Source: Ars Technica, Bloomberg, Engadget

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