Judge Posner wants Apple and Motorola to ‘winnow’ more patents out of Chicago litigation

“On Tuesday (January 31, 2012), Circuit Judge Posner, who is serving by designation on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to preside over an Apple v. Motorola Mobility lawsuit, entered an order that became electronically retrievable on Wednesday (February 1, 2012) and, among other things, tells the parties that there are still too many patents in play,” Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents.

“The order acknowledges that Apple and Motorola made a January 30 submission (which is not in the public electronic record, at least at this stage) that complied with a request to inform the court ‘of what patents they wish to litigate in the liability trial,’ but ‘not fully satisfactorily,'” Mueller reports. “The judge wants more ‘winnowing’ (as he likes to call the narrowing of a case by dropping patent claims) to take place.”

Mueller reports, “Whether or not there will be some further ‘winnowing’ as per Judge Posner’s request, the Chicago case involves some very interesting patents. The strongest ones of those patents could give Apple major leverage against Motorola, especially if Motorola can’t overcome Apple’s FRAND defense.”

Much more in the full article, including which patents are at stake, here.


  1. If the two parties believe that there intellectual property is being violated and have the patents to prove it, the judge should decide on the merits of each patent. Asking them to ‘winnow’ out patents claims is tantamount to invalidating the patents. Shame on this lazy judge.

    1. As we are all aware …. When someone gets arrested, often times, the Officer will throw in a bunch of minor charges …. The minor charges gives the Prosecutor leverage in plea negations …..

      Patent disputes are much the same …

      The Judge is simply asking them to settle up on a few of the more frivolous ones – Perhaps ones they can trade / share on … And the couple they can’t then bring it on ….

      The Judge does not want to waste time and knows the faster the trial goes the quicker justice is served ….

      1. Perhaps the judge needs a little education what the case is about. It’s not about sharing or licensing patents. It’s about Apple trying to stemm the tidal wave of IP and innovation theft.

        1. Posner is perhaps the greatest living legal mind we have. His decisions, especially in this area of the law are cited in textbooks. I would bet that what he’s asking for is that Samsung drop its claims concerning FRAND patents, which it has pledged to industry standards, and to which it has no right to restrict Apple or any other company’s access. Posner is sending Samsung a message.

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