Google, Motorola ordered to provide Android information to Apple

Motorola holds that the information sought is outside its possession, custody, or control

A U.S. judge has ordered Motorola Mobility and Google to turn over information to Apple on Google's acquisition in 2005 of Android, its development of the Android OS and the proposed acquisition of Motorola.

Richard Posner, normally an appeals judge, is presiding over Apple's patent lawsuit against Motorola and Motorola Mobility in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, a trial court. In a ruling Monday, Posner granted Apple's motion to compel Motorola and Google to provide the information about Android and Google's planned acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Motorola and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge's decision.

In a response to Apple's motion, Motorola had said that Apple seeks information outside the "possession, custody or control" of Motorola. Motorola is not the same entity as Google, which is not a party to the dispute, and it cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google's objections, it said.

In addition, the information Apple seeks regarding Google's acquisition of Motorola and Android is not relevant to any damages asserted in the case, Motorola added. However, Google is cooperating and complying with all discovery requests that seek information relevant to the case and is providing witnesses for deposition, Motorola said.

Google announced in August last year that it was acquiring Motorola for US$12.5 billion. In February, the U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission approved the acquisition. The company is still awaiting approvals from China, Israel, and Taiwan.

Apple said it asked the court on March 2 for an order compelling Motorola and Google to provide information on Android and the proposed acquisition of Motorola, as the two companies had not cooperated earlier with Apple's request.

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