Judge Dismisses Patent Lawsuit: Apple vs. Motorola

U.S. Federal Judge Richard Posner of U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled on Friday, June 22, 2012, that Apple cannot seek an injunction against Motorola Mobility in Apple’s lawsuit about smartphone patents. Judge Posner has thrown out the case “with prejudice”, which means that neither Apple nor Motorola can refile this case. There is the potential for an appeal to be filed.

Judge Posner has not been pleased with this lawsuit from the beginning. He has already ruled that the testimony of some expert witnesses was inadmissible. Earlier this month he came to the conclusion that the case would be dismissed, and he canceled the trial date. But later on, Apple requested for a hearing where both Apple and Motorola could make their arguments for damages claims. Judge Posner agreed to that. After hearing the arguments, Judge Posner was very unimpressed.

In regards to why he threw out this case “with prejudice”, Judge Posner said:

“It would be ridiculous to dismiss a suit for failure to prove damages and allow the plaintiff to refile the suit so that he could have a second chance to prove damages”.

In short, the Judge concluded that Motorola can’t obtain an injunction against Apple in relation to patents that Motorola licensed under FRAND, (which stands for fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory) terms. Once you do that, the implication is that a royalty is adequate compensation for a license to use that particular patent.

He described Apple’s legal tactics as follows:

“A patentee cannot base a claim to an injunction on a self-inflicted wound, such as sponsoring a damages expert who prepares a demonstrably inadequate report”. He also went on to say: “in its latest written and oral submissions Apple attempts what I told its legal team at a pretrial conference I would not let it do in the liability trials then envisaged: turn the case into an Apple verses Motorola popularity contest. Apple wanted me to allow into evidence media reports attesting to what a terrific product the iPhone is”.

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