Google, Motorola Ordered To Hand Over Android Info To Apple

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It's been nary a month since Google's acquisition of Motorola was approved by both the European Union and the U.S. Justice Department. As Motorola has been deadlocked in multiple ongoing patent lawsuits with Apple regarding the distribution of Apple’s iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPad 2 3G, Google seems to have acquired its way into yet another legal struggle with their tech rival.

As far as the ongoing patent wars continue, the momentum swung back into Apple's favor today as a U.S. Circuit Judge has ordered Google and Motorola to hand over information containing details about Google's Android operating system.

In a ruling from yesterday, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner in Chicago ruled that Motorola and Google must also hand over the information regarding Google's pending acquisition of the mobile-device maker. According to Bloomberg, Judge Posner scheduled back-to-back trials before separate juries for June 11, with the first set to address six of Apple's patents and the second to cover three Motorola patents.

Google has argued that it sought to acquire Motorola as a part of a defensive strategy to remain competitive with the likes of Apple and Microsoft. In a statement elaborating on Google's need for Motorola, Google CEO Larry Page said that the acquisition was necessary for his company because "Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android."

Apple's attorneys filed a request from the judge earlier this month arguing that the Google/Motorola merger is "highly relevant to Apple's claims defenses."

Responding to the judge's order, Motorola objected to the order to share Android OS information with Apple because Google, the company said, is not 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.

Given that Google Vice President of Americas Operations Dennis Woodside was tapped to become CEO of Motorola Mobility following Google's acquisition of the company, Motorola's argument seems somewhat confusing if not altogether specious.

When asked for comment on the ruling, Google remained reticent. Jim Prosser, Manager of Global Communications and Public Affairs with Google, merely said, "We're not going to comment beyond the court filings."

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