The outfit's subsidiary, handset division Motorola Mobility, has filed complaints with the US International Trade Commission and courts in Illinois, where the company has its headquarters, and the southern state of Florida.
The patents that Motorola has got its knickers in a twist about relate to antenna design, wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronisation.
Motorola wants the ITC to launch an investigation into Apple's alleged use of Motorola patents and bar the importation and sale of infringing products in the United States. This is pretty much standard these days as most companies make their goods in China and ship them over. Ironically if Apple was making stuff in the US, it would be immune to this action.
Kirk Dailey, Motorola Mobility's corporate vice president of intellectual property said in a statement that Motorola has "innovated and patented throughout every cycle of the telecommunications industry evolution and has tens of thousands of patents in the US and worldwide."
Apple came in late, but for some reason failed to acknowledge that it was scrambling on the back of giants. Allegedly, Motorola engaged in lengthy negotiations, but Apple had a problem that it thought it had invented everything and refused to take a licence.
These days patent lawsuits are becoming a regular method of doing business in the same way that a caveman hitting someone over the head and dragging them back to their cave was a method of saying "I love you".
Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, and Motorola recently buried the hatchet in a long round of patent battles.