FutureFive NZ - Apple-Motorola patent case dismissed 'with prejudice'

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Apple-Motorola patent case dismissed 'with prejudice'

A US judge has dismissed a patent lawsuit between Apple and Motorola, saying neither company did enough to demonstrate the need for reparation via damages or injunctions.

The case, which included lawsuits brought by each company against the other, was even dismissed ‘with prejudice’, meaning neither company can re-file their suits.

Unfortunately, one expert has already responded to the decision saying the case is unlikely to put an end to the disputes plaguing the tech industry.

In his lengthy ruling, judge Richard Posner says Apple’s legal team tried to turn the trial into ‘an Apple versus Motorola popularity contest’.

"Apple wanted me to allow into evidence media reports attesting to what a terrific product the iPhone is,” Posner writes.

"I said I would not permit this because the quality of the iPhone... and consumers’ regard for it have, so far as the record shows, nothing to do with the handful of patent claims that I had ruled presented triable issues of infringement.

"Apple is complaining that Motorola’s phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole. But Motorola’s desire to sell products that compete with the iPhone is a separate harm – and a perfectly legal one – from any harm caused by patent infringement.”

While the decision may play a part in future lawsuits, it’s far from definitive.

According to patent expert Florian Mueller, Posner clearly wanted his ruling to represent ‘a contribution to patent peace’.

"When writing his decision, he knew it was going to be cited many times in the months and years ahead,” Mueller writes in a blog post.

"It will be, and it deserves to be.”

Unfortunately, Mueller says it is likely to lead to more litigation, not less.

"Litigation expenses and the negative publicity resulting from lost cases are not going to discourage anyone from carrying on [fighting patent battles].

"The prospect of lost sales as a result of injunctions, or of draconian damage awards, is much more of an incentive to settle than a feeling that it’s just going to take longer and cost more legal fees.”

All Things Digital have posted the ruling in full. At 38 pages it’s pretty hefty, but it’s interesting reading nonetheless. Go here to check it out.

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