John Paczkowski

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Apple vs. Motorola Dismissed With Prejudice

anjiruone / deviantart

Richard Posner, the outspoken Chicago judge who has at times described the Apple-versus-Motorola lawsuit over which he presides as “silly” and “ridiculous,” on Friday had the final word on the case: Dismissed.

In a ruling issued late Friday, Posner dismissed the case, saying neither Apple nor Motorola was able to present compelling proof of damages. And he did so with prejudice, preventing both companies from refiling claims.

“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,” Posner wrote in his ruling. “This case is therefore dismissed with prejudice; a separate order to that effect is being entered today.”

The ruling is a clear victory for Motorola and its new owner Google, but it’s also a blow to all companies involved. Throughout his order Posner repeatedly skewers Apple and Motorola and their legal teams for the weakness of their arguments, mistakes in trial preparation, flights of “wild conjecture,” and their utter failure to present enough evidence to create a triable issue. He also takes a well-aimed shot at Motorola for seeking an injunction against Apple using standards-essential patents that are supposed to be licenses on FRAND (fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory) terms.

“To begin with Motorola’s injunctive claim, I don’t see how, given FRAND, I would be justified in enjoining Apple from infringing the ’898 [patent] unless Apple refuses to pay a royalty that meets the FRAND requirement,” Posner wrote.”By committing to license its patents on FRAND terms, Motorola committed to license the ’898 [patent] to anyone willing to pay a FRAND royalty and thus implicitly acknowledged that a royalty is adequate compensation for a license to use that patent. How could it do otherwise? How could it be permitted to enjoin Apple from using an invention that it contends Apple must use if it wants to make a cell phone with UMTS telecommunications capability — without which it would not be a cell phone.”

A bit of an aside, but one worth noting, since Motorola is often criticized for using standards-essential patents to fight its IP battles: The company’s castigation for that behavior by Posner, who is something of a legal legend, will surely be noted by Motorola’s rivals, and may resonate a bit in some of the company’s other patent spats.

Anyway, for Posner, Apple versus Motorola is finally over. But the companies’ pitched battle continues to rage on, with litigation pending in the International Trade Commission and a few foreign courts, as well.

Apple declined comment on the ruling. Motorola was obviously pretty happy with it.

“We are pleased that Judge Posner formally dismissed the case against Motorola Mobility,” a company spokesperson told AllThingsD. “Apple’s litigation campaign began with their attempt to assert 15 patents against us. As it relates to Apple’s violation of our patents, we will continue our efforts to defend our own innovation.”

The full text of the ruling, below:


6.22 Opinion


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus