A U.S. judge in Chicago has just ruled that information about Google's acquisition of Motorola is a key part of Apple's claims against Motorola in their ongoing patent disputes and legal battles. The ruling means that Apple will get some key information about the development of Android, and potentially find other cases of infringement there. As you might expect, Motorola isn't thrilled about this, and claims “Google’s employees and documents are not within the ‘possession, custody, or control’ of Motorola, and Motorola cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google’s objections.”

It's a little funny that Google acquired Motorola as a patent safety net, and now it's actually proving to be more of a liability. There's been some contention as to whether or not Google should be involved in Motorola lawsuits at all, since the acquisition is still in-progress. Of course, if Motorola can stand its ground against Apple in this case, it could set a strong defensive precedent for Android as a whole against future lawsuits. Details are skimpy on exactly how much access Apple will have to Google and Motorola's files; what are the odds that seeing them will provide Apple with any significant competitive advantage outside the court?