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Apple countersues Motorola over multi-touch iPhone patents


As expected, Apple has responded to a patent suit from Motorola with its own legal action, accusing the company of violating six patents related to multi-touch features found in the iPhone.

Apple filed two lawsuits on Friday in a U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin. The Cupertino, Calif., company seeks to prove to the court that Motorola has violated six patents related to multi-touch gestures first pioneered with the iPhone.

Apple's suit names a number of popular Motorola handsets as infringing. Those named in the complaint are the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Cliq, Cliq XT, BackFlip, Devour A555, Devour i1 and Charm 1.

The patents named in Apple's suit are:

The legal action is in response to a lawsuit filed earlier in October with the U.S. International Trade Commission by Motorola against Apple. In that case, Motorola has accused the iPhone, iPod touch and certain Macs of infringing on patents related to a range of technologies, including 3G, GPRS, 802.11 wireless, and antenna design.

Motorola has asserted that it attempted to license technology to Apple, and engaged in "lengthy negotiations" with the iPhone maker, but a deal could not be reached. The company has claimed that Apple "refused" to pay for a license.

Motorola also took preemptive action against Apple earlier this month, in anticipation of a countersuit, and asked a court to invalidate 11 iPhone-related patents. None of the 11 patents named in Motorola's complaint are included in Apple's lawsuit.

Those patents were, however, used in a suit Apple filed against HTC earlier this year. Motorola noted to the court that Apple has a "history of asserting" that handsets running Google's Android mobile operating system violate the 11 named patents.