Last month, Motorola filed a fresh complaint with the International Trade Commission, claiming that numerous Apple products and features infringe on its patents. Its IP includes seven patents covering everything from location reminders to email notifications to phone and video players. Motorola is seeking an import ban for Apple's products, most of which are made in Asia. Earlier this week, the ITC voted to begin an investigation based on the complaint.
Among the accused features is Apple's iMessage service, a unified messaging service that spans all of its devices and allows users to send messages for free to other Apple users. Motorola wants all Apple devices that use iMessage banned from import -- i.e., all Apple devices. The iPhone 5 wasn't included in the complaint, primarily because it wasn't announced at the time, but you can expect Motorola to add it to the mix shortly.
Somehow, Motorola absurdly doesn't believe that domestic consumers would really notice if Apple's products were banned: "With so many participants in the highly competitive Wireless communication, portable music, and computer market, it is unlikely that consumers would experience much of an impact if the requested exclusion orders were obtained." That sounds rather delusional to me.
Even though Apple is similarly seeking bans on Samsung devices after its legal victory, it's not like the iPhone maker ever said no one would ever notice.
Meanwhile, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to wrangle with Motorola, earning a German victory banning its Android devices related to a file-storage system patent, similar to the one that Research In Motion (NYSE:BB) just licensed. In August, Microsoft called out Google for waging war via its subsidiary, saying it continues to refuse its standards-essential patents as it's required to.
If Motorola is even able to put a dent in Apple's momentum, that $12.5 billion that Google spent may start to pay off.