Google Inc. and a Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) unit were ordered by the U.S. judge presiding over an Apple Inc. (AAPL) patent lawsuit to turn over information about the development of Google’s Android operating system.
The Motorola Mobility unit and Google must also hand over to Apple information about Google’s pending $12.5 billion acquisition of the mobile-phone maker, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner in Chicago ruled yesterday.
Posner’s decision came in a patent lawsuit filed in 2010 by Cupertino, California-based Apple against Motorola Mobility, which has countersued.
“The Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses,” Apple’s attorneys’ said in a March 2 filing requesting the judge’s order.
Apple, maker of the iPhone, has been waging a global fight with the former Motorola Inc. unit that sells phones using Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system.
Posner, a federal appeals court judge who is presiding over the trial court-level case, has scheduled back-to-back trials before separate juries starting June 11. The first will address six Apple patents, and the second will cover three Motorola patents.
“Motorola shall be expected to obtain full and immediate compliance by Google with Apple’s liability discovery demands,” the judge said in a February order.
Motorola Mobility opposed Apple’s request, arguing that Google, the operator of the world’s most-visited Internet search portal, isn’t a party to the lawsuit.
“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,” lawyers for the mobile phone maker said in a court filing earlier yesterday.
Motorola Mobility was spun off from Motorola Inc. -- now Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI) Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for the Libertyville, Illinois-based company, declined to comment on the ruling.
Niki Fenwick, a spokeswoman at Google, said in an e-mail that the company wouldn’t comment beyond what was submitted in court papers.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Motorola Inc., 11-cv-08540, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).
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