Google Sued By Skyhook Over Mobile Location Technology

Skyhook Wireless claims the search company attempted to block its wireless location technology from being installed on handsets, including those made by Motorola.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

September 15, 2010

2 Min Read

Google was sued Wednesday by Skyhook Wireless, which alleged the search colossus sought to block its wireless location technology from being installed on handsets. Skyhook also alleged that Google infringes its patents. Filed in a state court and in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, much of the litigation revolves around the two firms' relationship with Motorola, many of whose mobile handsets use Google's Android platform.

Skyhook, which triangulates 250 million Wi-Fi access points in a massive database with cell towers and GPS, announced in April that Motorola was replacing Google's location technology with Skyhook's core location service.

"…shortly thereafter," according to the litigation, "Andy Rubin (Google's vice president of engineering overseeing development of Android) called Sanjay Jha (co-chief executive officer of Motorola, Inc, and chief executive officer of Motorola's Mobile Devices business) multiple times to impose a 'stop ship' order on Motorola preventing Motorola from shipping Android wireless devices featuring Skyhook's XPS client software."

The Skyhook complaint stated Motorola shipped the devices in question in mid-July without Skyhook's XPS, but with Google's Location Service "as the platform supplier of location data."

Skyhook, based in Massachusetts as is Google's Android operation, is seeking millions of dollars in damages. Skyhook also cited another unnamed firm -- "Company X" -- that it said had committed to use its location services, but that Google interfered with that deal, too.

"There was a time when Google tried to compete fairly with Skyhook," the Skyhook complaint continued, "But once Google realized its positioning technology was not competitive, it chose other means to undermine Skyhook and damage and attempt to destroy its position in the marketplace for location positioning technology."

According to media reports late Wednesday, Google said it hadn't been served with the complaint and couldn't comment on it.

FURTHER READING: Motorola Drops Google Location For Skyhook Samsung Selects Skyhook Location Services Android Is Not Free

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