An ongoing lawsuit between Motorola and Apple looks set to test the relationship between Google and Motorola Mobility, the handset firm that Google agreed to buy for $12.5 billion.
According to a Bloomberg report, Google has been instructed to provide Motorola, and the case itself, with details of its plans to develop its Android mobile operating system, as well as information relating to the proposed acquisition.
The case first began in 2010 when Apple sued Motorola over alleged patent infringement. The feud was ratcheted up a notch in January when Motorola countersued Apple over its iPhone 4S and iCloud products, a move that the Guardian says was given Google’s blessing.
Presiding judge Richard A. Posner has requested the information from Google because it is “highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.”
As it stands, Motorola will be required to disclose the information in June, when the judge has scheduled back-to-back hearings. The first trial will address six Apple patents, while the second will look at three Motorola patents.
It remains unclear exactly what details the judge requires at this stage, however Motorola has, unsurprisingly, voiced its dissatisfaction with the request. The company says that Google is not a part of the lawsuit, and therefore its details are of no relevance to the case.
Furthermore, Motorola lawyers have claimed that they are not able to access the details which belong to Google:
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.
Google’s planned purchase of Motorola Mobility sent shockwaves across the global telecoms industry. Concern was voiced that Google has damaged its relationship with the manufacturers that use its Android operating system by buying a competitor.
Google said in a blog post that the deal “will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform”, however it could have implications for Android, which is currently the world’s most used smartphone operating system.
The deal to buy Motorola has gained approval from the US and the European Union already, leaving the firm waiting on a number of other bodies, which include the Chinese government, before the move gets the green light to finally go ahead.