Apple Fails to Wrest Android Data From Motorola Mobility

Apple Inc. lost a bid to force Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. to turn over data about Google Inc.’s development of its Android mobile-phone operating system and planned acquisition of the mobile-phone manufacturer.

U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, who in June will preside over back-to-back patent trials pitting Apple against Motorola, denied the production request in a single-paragraph order issued yesterday.

“The motion is vague and overbroad and Motorola’s objections are persuasive,” Posner wrote. The mobile-phone maker’s opposition to Apple’s March 16 demand was filed under seal.

Google last month received U.S. and European Union approval for its planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility, which already makes phones reliant upon the Android system.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, would also acquire about 17,000 patents. In a regulatory filing yesterday, Motorola said it expects to complete the sale in the first half of this year, while adding that it can provide no assurances the transaction will be approved by China.

Apple IPhone

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, makes the rival iPhone, which runs on the company’s own proprietary software.

Motorola Mobility, which spun off from Motorola Inc. last year, has been warring with Apple over patent rights in U.S. and European courts.

Posner on March 5 ordered Motorola to produce the information sought by Apple on its pending acquisition and the Android development data. In its March 16 filing, Apple told the court Motorola hadn’t yet complied.

Appended to that filing was a copy of a March 16 e-mailed message from Motorola attorney Amanda Williamson to Apple counsel Robert Vlasis objecting to the scope of some of Apple’s information requests.

“If Apple desires a further court order compelling production of data within the scope of the March 5 order,” Posner said in his order today, “it will have to narrow its request to a manageable and particularized set of documents.”

Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment on Posner’s decision. Jennifer Erickson, a Motorola Mobility spokeswoman, didn’t reply to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Motorola Inc., 11-cv-08540, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

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