Judge dismisses entire Apple-Moto patent suit with prejudice

“In another surprise move, Judge Richard A. Posner has again dismissed the entirety of the patent suit consisting of claims and counterclaims from both Apple and Motorola of patent infringement, saying that both sides had failed to prove that they had been materially injured or formulate alleged damages,” Electronista reports. “He had issued a tentative dismissal last week, but was persuaded to hold one last hearing to discuss possible remedies.”

“The 38-page ruling is rife with frustration at both sides of the battle, pointing out missteps and errors made by both companies’ lawyers, as well as illustrating areas where both companies could have solidified their arguments with regards to damages,” Electronista reports. “Apple was cited as having tainted an expert witness by having him rely mainly on Apple engineers for an assessment of potential damages, while Motorola’s claim that its sole remaining patent was not subject to the concept of “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing was viewed dubiously by the judge, who seemed to suggest that he would have dismissed Motorola’s claim outright had the case gone to trial.”

Read more in the full article here.

Florian Mueller reports for FOSS Patents, “This case is 100% certain to be appealed to the Federal Circuit… Judge Posner has a very strategic perspective on some of these issues, and some of what he said has strategic implications for the parties involved. But as far as the legal reasoning behind the dismissal of Apple’s claims is concerned, it boils down to a procedural/tactical question: the ruling essentially says that Apple didn’t do its homework in terms of expert reports and witnesses to be entitled to an injunction (or, in the alternative, monetary compensation) while it had the chance to do so. He doesn’t rule out that Apple might have won either an injunction or at least damages (if it had been given the chance to prove an infringement).”

“There are also substantive/strategic issues with repercussions beyond this case. They involve the entitlement to injunctions in general, possible workarounds for some of Apple’s patents, Motorola’s pursuit of injunctions over (or excessive royalties for) standard-essential patents, etc.,” Mueller reports. “Chief Judge Rader of the CAFC (whose court is going to be next to look at this case) has repeatedly made statements that are markedly more favorable to the interests of patent holders than the positions Judge Posner takes. Again, I’m personally more on Posner’s than Rader’s side, but with a view to what will happen next, it’s a safe assumption that the CAFC will be concerned about the patent-skeptical stance embodied in this ruling and will probably be hesitant to affirm this in its entirety.”

Mueller writes, “Judge Posner wanted his ruling to represent a contribution to patent peace. He wanted to discourage even more litigation. This is, of course, perfectly consistent with his patent-skeptical attitude. Unfortunately for him and the industry, his ruling is actually going to have the opposite effect. Judge Posner tried to limit damages claims and to raise the bar for injunctive relief in general and, even more so, in connection with standard-essential patents. When writing his decision, he knew it was going to be cited many times in the months and years ahead. It will be, and it deserves to be. But it’s going to have the unintended consequence of even more litigation… Simply put, Judge Posner’s ruling is an invitation for ‘forum-shopping…'”

“Judge Posner’s ruling doesn’t change the fact that Apple has to try to get as much leverage as possible out of the intellectual property rights that are available to it. The alternative would be unfettered copying, which would ruin Apple’s margins and, still worse, bring an unstoppable erosion of its market share. Yesterday’s ruling asks the right questions but doesn’t necessarily give a helpful answer to each and every one of them (though I definitely agree with some of them, such as the part on FRAND),” Mueller writes. “Apple is going to continue its quest for the answers it likes to get. It didn’t get them from Judge Posner. It may get them from the Federal Circuit, or from German courts, or somewhere else.”

Tons more in the full article, including Posner’s position on FRAND patents, here.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s the point of patenting something about your unique design and technical innovations if you can’t stop others from using them or if you eventually can, but it takes so long as to render the entire process moot? To pay for the lavish lifestyles of judges and lawyers?

And, can Apple ever manage to hire competent legal representation who can actually protect them from blatantly obvious, slavish copying in a timely manner? You know, a lawyer who doesn’t do things like scribble out contracts for sugar water salesmen to sign that hand over the company’s crown jewels to Bill Gates so he can amass the world’s largest personal fortune by copying the Mac in perpetuity.

Apple’s lawyers are known for arriving at trials in a clown car. Bozos. Failures. Losers. Win something of substance for once and we’ll change our tune.

As it has been for the last 3 decades and counting:

Apple. The developer for the world.™

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple, Motorola should just play nice and pay royalties, suggests judge – June 21, 2012
U.S. judge changes mind, grants Apple an injunction hearing against Motorola (and vice versa) – June 14, 2012
Apple’s biggest enemy in smartphone wars: Molasses-like legal systems – June 13, 2012
Apple, Motorola Mobility patent trial scrapped by U.S. Judge [UPDATED] – June 7, 2012

22 Comments

  1. So, is this fixable? Can Apple provide better evidence of damages and win this on appeal? Perhaps they focussed far too much on injunctions and forcing work arounds and not enough on what Posner considers the crux of the matter, which is economic damage.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, “economic damage” is a moot point. Who cares if Apple can prove that they’ve been harmed financially from Motorola’s patent infringement?

      The point of these cases should be simple: Did Motorola infringe and/or steal Apple’s ideas? If the answer is yes, then they need to stop doing it and change their product! No payouts, no settlements… just come up with your own stuff.

      These judges don’t seem to understand that the real issue is the protection of original ideas, not gathering damages.

        1. Why is it so often that people who don’t know fuck all about what they are talking about start sentences with “you obviously don’t know anything about X”.

  2. This dick of a judge must be the kind that wants to legislate from the bench. He doesn’t like the current patent law. He doesn’t get that he us not in that position.

  3. Surprise, surprise. A wash. Gotta hand it to Google/Moto/Samsung. They are simply copying what’s good and popular (Apple) and making tons of money off it, without any repercussions. Smart. Morally reprehensible, but smart.

    1. Does anyone know which law firms Apple is retaining for this lawsuit? And for others? Let’s hear some names and apply some WebShame™ to these slackers. No vitriol, just accountability. (And remind them of Dewey LeBouef.)

  4. It’s the fear of change that stagnates companies like Microsoft and stultified corporate cultures that quashes any internal creativity to take the company to greater heights. In that regard Ballmer is the governor who has throttled back anything that might change the status profit quo “that’s worked ’til now” unless compelled to. No one wants to take risks or put their necks out the as Steve Jobs fearlessly did and that is a quality and tenacity you can’t create it has to be within the individual who’s running the show. Once Apple has shown the world the new way then they follow, often too late in a state of denial, but now following means years of catching up which can also destroy companies who don’t act quickly. Again those CEO’s who laugh loudest at change (as Ballmer did at the iPhone unveiling in 2007) are the biggest fools. RIM and Palm have or are paying the price for their lack of vision and won’t be the last.

  5. Lawyers get paid only when there are disputes and disagreements. Judges are similar. The more battles to fight the better. Why resolve anything if by simply throwing both parties arguments out – everyone has to start over? There are more billable hours that way…. $$-Chu-Ching-$$. For the 1%rs that benefit it is great. For the rest of us 99%rs it is very, very hard to watch.

    The almighty dollar is the king in our legal system not honesty, integrity, courage, fairness, etc…

    1. Judge’s have no incintive to add cases to already ballooned dockets that could have been resolved. Law firms who waste their clients money are soon fired. Most disputes are settled due to cost concerns, and a large percentage of that cost are legal fees and discovery. Your premise makes sense anecdotally but is not grounded in reality.

      1. While kdc has oversimplified things, jlamb has to admit that the favorite tactic of both politicians and lawyers (and judges, you have to be lawyer to be a judge) is to stall. And both systems are set up such that there are appear to be very few disincentives to stalling and usually a number of incentives for stalling.

  6. I always find it amazing that Florian Mueller tries to sound intellectually ‘above’ various judges in his writings and yet he has no real legal training and has never worked in the profession.

    Its like reading a blog by carpenter who is trying to explain the reasoning behind the plumbers decisions when he installed the toilet in your house.

  7. Dear Judge Posner
    It is the right of companies to sue.
    Attorneys are paid to argue.
    Judges are hired to make a decision, not punt.

    What happens when all judges in our courts decide to tell the litigants, in essence, “I’m bored with your petty squabble. Get out.” ?

  8. Putting aside the fact that Apple should have jumped on these infringements much sooner than they did, I agree with MDN that our legal system is much too slow. Now, let’s all think what it would take to solve that problem. Fewer frivolous suits would help, but we can’t seem to convince lawmakers to do anything about that, especially since so many of them are lawyers.

    We could do with more spending for more judges and their support staff. That leads to bigger government. Can’t have that.

    We could ease certain laws, such as drug laws which are a failure and cost the country billions and needlessly tie up the system, but the for-profit penal system would suffer and that’s just anti-capitalist. Oops. Can’t have that either.

    We could expect American corporations to actually pay the taxes they are supposed to instead of using loopholes to pay little or nothing, then use some of that to protect companies’ patents, but taxes are evil. Can’t have that.

    I’m tapped out. What can we do?

    1. If you don’t like the tax loopholes, close them.

      Don’t bitch and moan about companies employing the legal means provided to them to avoid taxation.

      Steve Forbes was right and, sadly, way ahead of his time.

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