Judge Dismisses Apple vs. Motorola Patent Case

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Couple of days back, we reported that while Federal Judge Richard Posner had questioned Apple’s bid for an injunction against Motorola, he did not make any formal rulings at Wednesday’s hearing.

Posner had dismissed the case couple of weeks back, but then changed his mind and decided to give each side one more chance to make their case. Apple claimed that Motorola was infringing on four its patent, while Motorola claimed Apple was infringing on one of its patent.

The Verge reports that Posner ruled that the patent case be dismissed in its entirety last evening.

In his latest ruling, it looks like the reasoning is essentially the same as it was before: neither Apple nor Motorola were able to prove damages in his view, and therefore, an injunction against the sale of any products is unwarranted. [..]

[..] In the end, Posner seemed frustrated at Apple’s inability to offer hard numbers: “Both parties have deep pockets,” he says in his 38-page decision. “And neither has acknowledged that damages for the infringement of its patents could not be estimated with tolerable certainty.”

The ruling should come as a relief for Motorola (and now Google) and a major setback for Apple. A favorable ruling would have given Apple the ability to negotiate favorable licensing agreements in its legal fights against Motorola and other competitors like Samsung. It would have also strengthen Apple’s hand in negotiating cross-licensing deals, where companies agree to let each other use their patented technologies.

Motorola has issued the following statement:

We are pleased that Judge Posner formally dismissed the case against Motorola Mobility. 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.

Apple and Samsung are scheduled for trial on July 30 in federal court in San Jose, California after the CEOs of the two companies failed to reach a settlement. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out. Apple would hope that Posner hasn’t set a precedent.