Apple sues Motorola Mobility in a US court over Qualcomm licenses

The latest turn in Apple’s ongoing patent war with Android manufacturing partners has been fairly disappointing for the iPhone-maker. A judge recently found Apple to be infringing on one of Motorola’s wireless patents, causing the company to remove some of its products from its German online store.

Today, Reuters is reporting that Apple has launched a counter-attack, filing a lawsuit against Motorola in a US court. And the outcome of this trial has the power to turn the tide…

Here’s an excerpt from Apple’s filing that sums up the new lawsuit:

“This is a lawsuit asserting claims for breach of contract, declaratory, and injunctive relief related to Motorola’s European Patent No 1 010 336 (“the ‘336 patent”) and the equivalent U.S. Patent No. 6,359,898 (“the ‘898 patent”). Motorola has sued Apple in Germany, claiming infringement of the ‘336 patent based on Apple’s use of Qualcomm components in Apple’s iPhone 4S product. Motorola’s German lawsuit is in direct breach of a Patent Licensing Agreement between Motorola and Qualcomm. As a Qualcomm customer, Apple is a third-party beneficiary of that contract.”

Basically, Apple is claiming that it has the same right to use Qualcomm’s baseband chips and other components that Motorola does. So it’s asking a US court to block Motorola from suing it in Germany over its use of Qualcomm’s products.

Apple and Motorola have been going back and forth in German courts over the last several months. And up to this point, Motorola has seemed to have the upper hand.  It’ll be interesting to see if Apple’s latest filing can slow down Motorola’s momentum.