Thursday, May 30, 2024

Judge Accuses Apple, Motorola of Abusing the Courts

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At least one person is fed up with the ongoing patent battle between Apple and Google’s Motorola business unit. Judge Robert N. Scola of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida accused the companies of filing lawsuits as part of their business strategy.

Bloomberg’s Susan Decker reported, “Apple Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility unit are more interested in using litigation as a business strategy than in resolving disputes over the use of patented technology, a federal judge in Florida said. ‘The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end,’ U.S. District Judge Robert Scola in Miami said in an order dated yesterday. ‘That is not a proper use of this court.'”

Computerworld’s John Ribeiro explained, “The judge was reacting to the litigation before the court which now includes over 180 claims asserted from 12 patents, in which the parties dispute the meaning of over 100 terms from those claims, according to an order which was entered into the court record on Wednesday. ‘Both Apple and Motorola greatly expanded the scope of this patent litigation by, among other things, supplementing patent infringement and invalidity contentions,’ the judge wrote.”

The Apple Insider’s Kevin Bostic added, “Using even more harsh terms, Scola’s order declined the request of the two companies that the court intervene to cut down on the complexity of the case. ‘Without a hint of irony,’ the order read, ‘the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess they made by holding a hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case.’ The judge’s order gave the two companies four months to narrow the case’s scope on their own. Should they be unable to reach terms, Scola will then put the case on hold until he can resolve the disputes over the definitions of patent terms.”

CNET’s Don Reisinger observed, “Apple, of course, is not solely involved in a dispute with Motorola. The company has been for years engaged in battles with several other handset makers, most notably, Samsung. So far, however, Apple hasn’t been able to find a single decisive victory that will lead it to ultimate success across the entire marketplace. Even last summer’s $1.05 billion judgment in Apple’s favor against Samsung has been dramatically reduced.”

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