Apple’s iMessaging software

Apple also faces a claim that its iMessage technology involves techniques that should have been licensed from Google’s Motorola unit.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate the allegation in addition to six other infringement claims.

Apple’s iMessage software allows owners of its products to send text and picture notifications to each other as an alternative to SMS or other instant message products.

The software comes installed on new Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPads. Google could enforce sales bans on the products if its claims are upheld.

A statement from the ITC said that it would set the date by which it intended to complete its investigation by the first week of November.

One patent lawyer, who used to act for Apple in Europe, said the amount of litigation the firm was now involved in was a concern.

“From Apple’s perspective you reap what you sow,” said Andrew Alton, a lawyer at Urquhart-Dykes and Lord.

“It started this by filing lawsuits about patents relating to unique software features, and it now faces allegations that hardware parts of its devices infringe others’ technologies – they would be much harder to change if it loses.

“Fighting litigation is always a drain on resources. Apple has a large amount of cash, but you have to ask whether the money would be better spent on R&D than lawyers.”

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