Motorola Mobility issues patent challenge to Apple

Investors really aren't sweating any legal trouble Apple faces, however.

By Sep 19, 2012 4:35PM
Image: Laws (Medio Images/SuperStock)Judge Lucy Koh rejected Samsung's (SSNLF) motion Tuesday to have Apple's (AAPL) ban of the Galaxy 10.1 tablet removed. However, Apple now faces a legal challenge from Motorola Mobility, which could put Apple in the same position as Samsung.

The U.S. International Trade Commission, or the USITC, voted and announced Wednesday that it will investigate Motorola Mobility’s claim that Apple infringed on seven of its patents. Motorola cited Section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930, and this section of the law could potentially ban Apple’s products from entering into the United States. The investigation will cover iPods, iPads, and Mac computers. The USITC will set a date to finish the investigation within 45 days.

Click here for the release from the USITC.

Investors, though, have cared little for any potential legal trouble Apple may face and instead have focused on the record breaking pre-order sales for the iPhone 5. The announcement that Apple customers pre-ordered 2 million iPhone 5s in the first 24 hours of availability has helped the stock reach $700 per share. Many analysts now have increased their forecasts for Apple's performance for the rest of its fiscal year, which ends this month.

Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee increased his September estimate for iPhone sales from 26 million units to 27 million units. Wu has subsequently raised his price target from $820 to $840. He expects Apple to report an annual profit of $44.25 per share compared to his earlier estimate of $44.11.

Other analysts have increased their price target for Apple. Scott Craig of Merrill Lynch has raised his price target from $770 to $850. According to CNBC, Peter Misek of Jefferies Group (JEF) sees a 30% potential upside for the stock and has set a price target of $900. He says that Apple selling more than 6 million units during the launch of the iPhone 5 this coming weekend would be a "huge positive for the company."

Gene Munster of PiperJaffray (PJC) anticipates that Apple will sell 6 million to 10 million iPhones in the coming launch weekend, and Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity projects that Apple will sell 9 million to 10 million iPhone 5s for Apple’s September quarter. Walkley's annual profits estimate is $43.25 for Apple’s fiscal year, up from $43.25.

Apple to establish Hong Kong base
Apple will be constructing an enormous data center in Hong Kong, reported Wednesday. The exact location will be in the new territories of Hong Kong near the Shenzhen China border. A bidding contractor employee, the source of this information, stated it will be the largest data center ever constructed by his company. Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2013, and it will take over a year before Apple begins using the center. Apple is still receiving bids from contractors for the construction of the facility.

The move makes sense for Apple since China is Apple’s fastest-growing region for sales, and China's large population makes it the biggest smartphone market in the world, notes.

Other tech companies, such as Google (GOOG), chose Hong Kong to build data centers because Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region and maintains an autonomous legal structure, preventing the mainland Chinese government from interfering with data.

Apple is also planning new data centers in Reno, Nevada, and Prineville, Ore. Apple already has data centers in Newark, Calif., and Maiden, N.C., which is its biggest data center at 500,000 square feet.

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