Sony takes on LG with latest phone patent suit

Two more companies leapt on the smartphone lawsuit merry-go-round yesterday as Sony filed a complaint seeking to block LG Electronics from shipping phones to the US.

The patent infringement filing is the latest case in a frenetic 18 months of legal activity for the industry. Companies including Apple, Nokia, Motorola, Microsoft and Google could all see the inside of the court room in 2011.

Sony filed its complaint on Wednesday to the International Trade Commission (ITC), a body that is seeing an increasing number of smartphone suits.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, said: "It's a strange move by Sony because they have little share of the smartphone market in the US. LG is really eating into their market share in Europe." She added: "We can now wait for LG's countersuit; that's the way these cases have normally gone."

Sony said the phones, which include the Encore, LG Accolade and the Rumor Touch, have technology that infringe its patents and would violate trade rules. It also filed a suit against LG in the Los Angeles District Court.

The patents cover issues including photo-based caller ID, technology for audio and transmission power. These are currently licensed by its joint venture Sony Ericsson as well as Nokia and Samsung.

LG said it would review the technologies in question, telling AFP "we will take action and activelyrespond". The world's third largest handset maker has so far struggled to make an impact in smartphones. In the third quarter its mobile phone sales dropped almost a third, which heralded the chief executive Nam Yong's departure in September. The company said it would invest $14.1bn (£9.2bn) to turn the division around.

Sony's lawsuit follows a series of similar moves from operators, handset makers, and semiconductor groups. Nokia's battle with Apple has escalated since the Finnish group filed inOctober last year, following up with a suit at the ITC which called for iPhone sales in the US to be blocked.

After taking on Apple over its iPhone, iPod and iPad in the US, Nokia has filed cases in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. Apple countered with lawsuits of its own. It is also locked in patent disputes with the handset makers Motorola and HTC. Steve Jobs has said: "We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it."

Ms Milanesi said: "This is where we are today. Companies are suing because nobody likes a freeloader, and many of these guys have a lot of patents. Licensing these patents can also make a lot of money. It shows the competition out there is getting tougher."

She added: "We haven't seen the end of companies suing over patents, not for a long while." Google, which developed the Android platform found on hundreds of smartphone devices, is also facing a legal challenge. The US technology giant Oracle claims that Android infringes on Java patents that came with its acquisition of Sun. Google has responded that the claims are "baseless".

At the start of the year, Eastman Kodak filed a lawsuit against Apple and Research in Motion (RIM), the Canadian group that makes the BlackBerry, over phone camera technology.

Motorola, in addition to its dispute with Apple, has also been slapped with a lawsuit from Microsoft, and has a complaint outstanding against RIM. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, has also filed patent infringementcomplaints against a series of technology companies, including Google,over Android.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried