Apple recently filed a patent infringement case against Motorola’s Xoom in addition to its lawsuit against Samsung, as the company continues to battle rivals over intellectual property rights.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company alleges the Xoom infringes on its iPad design, though whether Apple seeks to ban the tablet in the EU remains unknown. The suit was discovered through documents from Apple’s injunction request against Samsung in Europe, which was recently granted by a German court.
Apple also apparently filed a successful preliminary injunction against German-based company JAY-tech over iPad patent infringement. JAY-tech’s banned tablet is probably set to run on Android, though this remains unconfirmed.
The addition of the Xoom to Apple’s growing slate of patent litigation adds momentum to its possible strategy to cripple its tablet rivals in courts as well as the market. Ostensibly to preserve itself from “copycats,” Apple is engaged in numerous patent wars across the globe against Motorola, Samsung and a host of other, mostly Android-based handset and tablet manufacturers.
The trouble with Motorola is ongoing, with Apple previously accusing it of infringing upon 40 patents in the U.S. via four federal lawsuits and two ITC investigations.
The iPad maker also accused Samsung in April of “slavishly” copying its iOS devices’ designs and technology, leading to a string of countersuits and trade injunction requests.
Apple has recently seen major victories in its feud against Samsung, with both Australia and most countries in the European Union granting the company injunctions to ban the Galaxy Tab from distribution over the course of litigation.
Apple is also wrangling with HTC over tablet-related patents, with the International Trade Commission set to examine the second of two complaints filed by Apple against the Taiwanese device maker. Apple also seeks injunctions against HTC products, which would either ban the devices from being sold in the U.S. or force HTC to pay royalties to Apple for each sale.
Some analysts see Apple’s burgeoning slate of tablet-related patent suits as an attempt to consolidate the iPad’s dominant position in the tablet market. If injunctions like those against the Galaxy Tab in major markets like Europe continue to be granted, Apple may solidify its edge, especially since some of its strongest rivals may not even be available for sale to consumers.
Many also see Apple’s litigation against Motorola, JAY-tech and Samsung, among others, as a proxy war on the Android OS. Android remains Apple’s only serious competitor and now claims the biggest chunk of worldwide mobile market share by volume. The iPhone maker remains at the top in terms of revenue and app sales, but if it doesn’t continue to innovate it may see Google’s mobile OS claim emerging markets like Asia, for example.
Apple may see increased competition from Microsoft, too, as the software giant recently partnered with Nokia to put its Windows Phone OS on the Swedish company’s handsets and tablets. If Microsoft’s OS gains momentum, Apple may target the platform with further patent litigation as well, or choose to compete on its rivals’ terms.