Motorola wants 2.25% royalty on iPhone sales

The company that invented the mobile phone wants a slice of Apple's action. Complicating matters, Motorola is in the process of being bought by Google.

Motorola Mobility has asked Apple to pay a royalty of 2.25% on iPhone sales.

The royalty would have earned Motorola – the company that invented the mobile phone - around $US1 billion last year.

Motorola Mobility is the cellphone business spun off from Motorola early last year.

Google is in the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility, including its treasure grove of patents, for $US12.5 billion.

The Wall Street Journal today revealed a letter was filed in a California court last month in which Motorola Mobility “demanded” the royalty for a licence on its patents.

It was not immediately clear which technologies the patents involved, whether it was retroactive, or if it covered every model of iPhone.

Lawyers and analysts polled by the WSJ suspected Motorola had little expectation of success in seeking the 2.25% royalty.

"[Motorola] wants Apple to refuse it so they can pursue injunctions against Apple,” intellectual property consultant Florian Mueller told the Journal.

Apple briefly halts sales in Germany
The royalty revelation comes as Apple and, pending Google acquisition, Motorola are sparring over patents in Germany.

On Friday NZ time, Apple briefly suspended iPhone sales from its German online store following action by Motorola.

Motorola won an injunction in a court in Mannheim after arguing Apple should not be using Motorola's mobile technology in several models of iPhone (excluding the new 4S) and cellular-capable iPad without a licence.

However, Apple appealed the decision within hours, winning a suspension. iPhones were back onsale within 24 hours.

Motorola won a second injunction from the Mannheim court over its “push email” technology, which it claims Apple has no right to use. Apple has appealed.

Motorola’s smartphones are based on Google’s Android software.

Apple has also been involved in a series of suits and counter-suits with the largest Android device maker, Samsung.

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