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Skyhook Sues Google Over Location Positioning Technology

Posted  September 22, 2010

The competitive battle between Google and Skyhook Wireless to provide cutting-edge location positioning technology for such devices as mobile phones and laptops has found a new location for conflict – the courtroom.

Skyhook, a company that provides mobile software for determining location using nearby Wi-Fi signals, has filed a lawsuit against in Massachusetts Superior Court alleging that Google unfairly pressured Motorola and other Skyhook partners to stop using Skyhook’s location-based mobile software.  The Boston-based firm has also filed a second lawsuit against Google saying the company infringed on Skyhook’s patents for software that allows advertising based on a user’s precise location.

In the lawsuit alleging intentional interference with contractual and business relations, as well as unfair and deceptive trade practices, Skyhook alleges Google’s business practices were anticompetitive because the firm used its influence on the (allegedly open source) Android mobile software platform – created by Google – to pressure Motorola into breaking its contract with Skyhook. Android is an open-sourced software platform created by Google.

Skyhook claims that after it announced a partnership with Motorola in April 2010, in which Motorola would replace Google’s location-based software on its Android phones with Skyhook’s location engine, Google’s vice president for engineering called Motorola’s chief executive and asked him multiple times to impose a “stop ship” order on Motorola devices loaded with Skyhook’s software.  According to the Complaint, Google called for the halt in shipments because it claimed Skyhook’s software was not compatible with the Android platform.

Skyhook claims that it lost millions of dollars in royalties provided under the Motorola Contract and that “Google’s interference also harmed Skyhook by preventing enhancements to Skyhook’s database that would have occurred but for the deprivation of data from these phones.”

Tagged in: Antitrust Litigation,