Skyhook Motion For Preliminary Injunction Shot Down in Lawsuit Against Google; CEO Still Hopeful in Case

Boston-based mobile software maker Skyhook Wireless hasn’t been able to prevent Google from setting rules that Skyhook says shut its location-finding technology out of phones running the Android platform—not yet, anyway.

Last September, the startup filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts’ Suffolk County Superior Court against Mountain View, CA-based Google, claiming that the company had interfered with contracts Skyhook had nabbed to get its XPS software into Motorola and Samsung mobile phones, so that Google’s location-finding software would be employed instead.

Skyhook sought to prevent Google’s interference in the contracts even as the lawsuit proceeded, by filing a motion for a preliminary injunction against Google that in effect would have forced the firm to loosen its compatibility standards so that mobile phone makers would have the freedom to choose the technology that worked best for them. A judge has denied Skyhook’s request, which was presented at a hearing in November, Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan confirmed in an e-mail today.

“The judge denied the preliminary injunction based on the materials discovered to date so the case will proceed normally as any case from here on out,” Morgan said.

Skyhook has claimed that shortly after it landed contracts with Motorola and Samsung to put its XPS location-finding technology in their Android mobile phones, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) redefined its requirements for what makes a device compatible with its Android platform in a way that made the XPS software non-compliant. (The Skyhook lawsuit doesn’t directly name Samsung, but refers to a second company as “Company X” due to contract restrictions. The identity can be surmised from the case details, though, as my colleague Wade has written previously.)

In opposing the injunction from Skyhook at the hearing in November, Google lawyers claimed that the terminated contracts between the phone makers and Skyhook were not linked to Google’s compatibility standards. They also said that Google had its own agreements with the phone makers, before Skyhook came along, surrounding the collection of consumer data that its standard Android phone apps performed. Google lawyers could not be reached this week for comment on the new developments in the case.

A hearing for a motion to dismiss the case had been originally scheduled for today, but the … Next Page »

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