Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been involved in a lot of legal wrangling against Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), mainly indirectly through Google partners like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., HTC and Motorola Mobility. Apple Inc. (AAPL) has been dishing out the lawsuits, but it has also been the target of them. A recent case before the International Trade Commission was such of the latter, but it has seemingly gone away.
The question is, is this forever, just for now? Word is out that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) dodged a sales- and import-ban bullet when Motorola Mobility – owned by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) – surprisingly dropped its International Trade Commission complaint against Apple Inc. (AAPL), a complaint that originally alleged that Apple had infringed on as many as seven Motorola Mobility patents. Motorola had initially sought a U.S. import ban on just about every Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) device.
But the complaint was unceremoniously and quite oddly dropped. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was quick with a response to the question of what happened, saying “As we have said many times before, we will continue to vigorously defend our partners.” Whatever that means. However, one could remember that the last time a Google Inc. (GOOG) took on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the ITC, Google surrogate HTC lost big, having infringed on two Apple patents.
So if Motorola Mobility/Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has a case against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), does this mean that Google is taking a differnt tack? Are Larry Page and Apple Inc. (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook now drinking buddies and will work out a deal on a cocktail napkin, and these two companies will sing “Kumbayah”? Or will this case be put into a federal courtroom? With the mystery behind the removal of the complaint, there is reason to believe this isn’t over, which is something that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management will likely keep an eye on in the coming weeks.