Microsoft has launched legal action against Motorola for violating its intellectual property with Android smartphones.
Actions were filed in the International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Motorola citing nine handsets running Android.
The actions are largely focussed around patents relating to the Android GUI, including synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.
"We have a responsibility to our customers, partners, and shareholders to safeguard the billions of dollars we invest each year in bringing innovative software products and services to market," said Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft.
"Motorola needs to stop its infringement of our patented inventions in its Android smartphones."
In a blog posting Gutierrez explained that, in Microsoft's view, software was now the key differentiator in buying smartphones rather than the hardware, and as such the industry needed to come to an arrangement over IP rules.
The open source Android operating system is under increasing attack from commercial software vendors. Oracle has also filed suit citing patent infringement, a claim Google denies.
"This is very significant but only the latest in a series of patent cases involving Android, after Apple suing HTC and Oracle going after Google itself," said Florian Meuller, founder of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign
"These patent suits brought forward by industry giants with massive patent portfolios unmatched by Google are dark clouds over Android. Google must now act constructively and try to work out amicable arrangements with those right holders."
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