Smartphone Smackdown: Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Android Handsets

In a sneaky late Friday legal filing, Microsoft hit Motorola with a lawsuit over the latter company’s line of Google software-based Android smartphones, which Microsoft claims are in violation of nine patents. Microsoft manufactures Windows-based software for smartphones.

Few of us, least of all Motorola, have actually seen a copy of the suit: 2:10-cv-01577 Microsoft Corporation v. Motorola Inc isn’t online yet. But the handset maker says it plans to vigorously defend itself. The patents it is allegedly infringing relate to calendars, contacts, email synchronization, scheduling meetings, and  notification of changes in battery power and signal strength, according to Reuters. These all sound like fairly standard activities for a smartphone, but it wouldn’t be the first time that generic-sounding technological behavior turned out to constitute patent infringement.

This is just the latest chapter in an ongoing drama between smartphone manufacturers. Last year, Nokia sued Apple over patent infringement. Apple then countersued, claiming 13 patent infringements. And then Apple sued HTC for alleged infringement of 20 iPhone patents. (It’s been a good year for patent lawyers — Xerox also sued Google and Yahoo for infringment of a search query patent.) So there’s a strong chance that Microsoft’s current battle with Motorola will be the first of many Android-based suits. HTC and Samsung, brace yourselves.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.AS