Judge dismisses Apple, Motorola patent case once again

<i>This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.</i>

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a patent case involving Apple and Motorola, perhaps finally putting to rest a case that’d already been dismissed one other time.

Apple alleged Motorola was in violation of four of its patents, while Motorola claimed Apple violated one of its patents. However, Judge Richard Posner dismissed the case with prejudice -- meaning it cannot be refiled but can still be appealed -- saying neither company showed what damages had been incurred.

“Both parties have deep pockets,” Posner said in his ruling, according to The Verge. “And neither has acknowledged that damages for the infringement of its patents could not be estimated with tolerable certainty.”

The ruling is seen as a victory for Motorola, as Apple hoped the victory would help it in its fight against Android phones, according to Reuters.


“Apple is complaining that Motorola’s phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole,” Posner wrote, according to Reuters. “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.”

The case was tentatively dismissed back in early June, but Posner brought it back for another hearing not long after. At the hearing the two sides were asked to show why they deserved injunctive relief, but after the hearing took place last week, Posner said both companies once again failed to show how they were hurt. The case goes back to 2010, when both companies alleged patent infringements and sued.

Motorola said it was happy with the judge’s decision.

“Apple’s litigation campaign began with their attempt to assert 15 patents against us,” the company said in a statement, according to The Verge. “As it relates to Apple’s violation of our patents, we will continue our efforts to defend our own innovation.”


Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

[For the Record, 1:15 p.m. June 26: An earlier version of this post said Posner is a U.S. District Court judge. Posner is a U.S. Circuit Court judge. He was on assignment as a trial judge in a U.S. District Court for the Apple-Motorola case.]


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