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US judge dismisses Apple and Motorola patent case

Denies companies' requests for injunctions with prejudice
Mon Jun 25 2012, 11:17
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A US FEDERAL COURT has dismissed Apple's plan to block sales of Motorola Mobility's Android smartphone devices.

Chicago Judge Richard Posner denied the smartphone maker's request for an injunction against Google's newly acquired unit with prejudice, saying Apple's case didn't merit an injunction.

"Apple is complaining that Motorola's phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole," Posner wrote in a 38 page ruling on Friday. "But Motorola's desire to sell products that compete with the iPhone is a separate harm - and a perfectly legal one - from any harm caused by patent infringement."

Apple declined to comment, while Motorola said, "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."

The news comes after a long patent war between the two technology giants. In October 2010, Motorola hurled an injunction against Apple in a tactical move of 'we know you're going to sue us, so we'll sue you first', as the Cupertino firm prepared for a lawsuit, which was launched a week later.

Posner had earlier issued a string of pretrial rulings that dismissed practically all of Motorola's patent claims while maintaining Apple's patent accusations, thus giving Apple an advantage in the lawsuit.

However, Posner cancelled the trial earlier this month, and on Friday ruled that neither party is entitled to an injunction, including Apple's pending lawsuit that sought to ban the sale of Motorola products that allegedly use Apple's patented technology.

Posner said Motorola could design around the minor technological features covered by Apple's patents, and for this reason, ruled that an injunction would be unsuitable.

"To suggest that it has suffered loss of market share, brand recognition, or customer goodwill as a result of Motorola's alleged infringement of the patent claims still in play in this case is wild conjecture," Posner wrote.

The judge also declared that Motorola could not pursue its only patent injunction request regarding wireless technology against Apple because it had agreed to license the patent to other companies.

Posner asked, "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?"

Both Apple and Motorola can appeal Posner's ruling. µ

 

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