Apple has won the rights to look at not only the documents surrounding the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility, but also the history of Android development.
U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner in Chicago ruled yesterday that Motorola and Google must turn over a large selection of legal documents to Apple for further examination. According to Bloomberg, the judge has scheduled two trials to run back-to-back beginning June 11: The first will cover Apple’s claim that Motorola violated six of its patents, while the second one will cover Motorla’s claim that Apple violated three of theirs.
In a February court filing, Apple lawyers said, “the Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.” Motorola’s lawyers responded that “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.” Apparently Judge Posner saw it differently from Motorola as his order stated, “Motorola shall be expected to obtain full and immediate compliance by Google with Apple’s liability discovery demands.” We’re not quite sure how Motorola Mobility, who is not yet owned by Google, is supposed to do this, but the Judge seems to see no issue with it.
Should all of these documents be handed over to Apple, it could be a major boon to the Cupertino-based company in its ongoing war against the Android operating system, and it would also be the first time Google itself has been forced to hand anything over. Up until now Apple has only secured victories against the manufacturers who make the phones the OS runs on, but getting to look at actual documents about the Android development process could open a whole new set of legal battles.
It would appear that the long list of Apple court battles may be about to get a tiny bit longer.