Saturday, July 24, 2021

Judge Throws Out Apple v. Motorola Patent Case

Wisconsin District Judge Barbara Crabb has decided to dismiss the Apple v. Motorola Mobility patent lawsuit that was scheduled to begin Monday. Apple had sued Google’s Motorola unit claiming that the company was charging exorbitant licensing fee for standards-essential technology.

Dan Levine and Alexei Oreskovic from Reuters reported, “An Apple lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility unit over alleged patent abuse was thrown out on Monday just hours before trial, a setback for the iPhone maker in its efforts to gain leverage in the smartphone patent wars. The two rivals were set to square off in a Madison, Wisconsin federal court over the library of patents Google Inc acquired along with Motorola for $12.5 billion in May. Apple Inc claimed Motorola’s licensing practices were unfair.”

According to the BBC, “Motorola has sought 2.25% of the price of Apple products that use some of its patents, which Apple said was too high. Last week, Motorola asked the court to set a price but Apple said it would not pay more than $1 (£0.60) per device.”

Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents explained, “things were actually going very well for Apple, with the court being originally quite inclined to consider Apple’s request for a court order that would have brought about a license agreement for Apple with respect to Motorola’s wireless (cellular and WiFi) standard-essential patents. But when Apple took the position, in response to Motorola’s motion, that it would only accept to be bound by the court’s determination if the royalty doesn’t exceed $1 per iPhone, Judge Barbara B. Crabb reacted negatively and started to wonder whether there was any point in having the FRAND trial that the court and the parties had already prepared for.”

All Things D’s Ina Fried quoted a Motorola spokesperson who said, “We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice. Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards. We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.” Dismissing the case “with prejudice” means that while Apple can appeal the dismissal in the same court, it cannot re-file the case in another court.

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