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Judge dismisses Apple's lawsuit against Motorola

Apple's patent bullying hits a snag
Tue Nov 06 2012, 10:33

A UNITED STATES judge dismissed Apple's patent licensing lawsuit against Motorola on Monday, the day the case was set to go to trial.

US District Court Judge Barbara Crabb threw out the case on the grounds that Apple might have refused to follow the court's judgment after a verdict was reached. Her ruling has put the brakes on Apple's attempt to run roughshod over Motorola Mobility in patent licensing negotiations.

"It has become clear that Apple's interest in a license is qualified. In its response to Motorola's motion for clarification on the specific performance issue, Apple states that it will not commit to be bound by any FRAND rate determined by the court," said Judge Crabb (PDF) in an earlier ruling.

"And will not agree to accept any license from Motorola unless the court sets a rate of $1 or less for each Apple phone. In other words, if Apple is unsatisfied with the rate chosen by the court, it reserves the right to refuse and proceed to further infringement litigation."

Apple had filed the lawsuit complaining that Motorola Mobility's initial negotiating offer was an unfair licensing fee for its standards essential patents. Motorola Mobility reportedly had made an initial offer to charge 2.25 per cent on the net sales of all IOS devices that use the company's patents.

Apple insisted it would pay at most $1 for all of Motorola Mobility's patents for each device. The company told the judge that if the court ruled that Motorola Mobility's patents were worth more than that it would not be bound by the court's ruling in negotiations and would appeal the case.

At a pretrial hearing on Monday, Judge Crabb decided that Apple's intransigence made the trial pointless and dismissed Apple's lawsuit with prejudice, as reported by legal blog Groklaw.

For its part, Motorola Mobility said it was pleased with the trial. The mobile phone maker said it was happy with Judge Crabb's ruling and will continue to work with Apple to come to a licensing agreement.

"We're pleased that the court has dismissed Apple's lawsuit with prejudice," said a Motorola spokesperson.

"Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive standards-essential patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards. We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple."

This isn't the only Motorola and Apple lawsuit making the rounds in the US judicial system. Motorola recently filed a patent infringement case against Apple. That case involves patents relating to technology found in the Siri voice control and location services. µ


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