Judges Dismisses Apple’s Patent Lawsuit Against Google And Motorola
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Google announced on Monday that a patent-infringement lawsuit brought against their Motorola unit by Apple in the state of Wisconsin has been dismissed. This occurred just hours before the trial was set to begin. District Judge Barbara Crabb questioned whether or not she had the legal authority to even hear Apple´s claims. Her determination led, ultimately, to the dismissal. Apple, in a filing after the dismissal, actually contended that perhaps Crabb didn´t have the authority to hear their case.
Lea Shaver, an intellectual property professor at Indiana University School of Law, stated that a ruling against Google would have diminished Motorola´s patents as an effective bargaining chip in settlement negotiations.
“This puts Apple back into the position it was before,” Shaver said told Reuters.
Both Apple and Microsoft have been seeking relief in the court system around the globe against Google and their global partners like Samsung, which use the Android operating system on their mobile devices.
Apple´s argument has been that Android is pretty much a copy of their iOS smartphone software. Microsoft, concurrently, claims they hold the specific patents that they contend cover a number of Android features. Microsoft will have their day in court next week in Seattle. However, many of Microsoft´s issues are similar to Apple´s that were dismissed this week in Wisconsin.
Both Apple and Microsoft have accused Google of demanding a royalty that is too high for its standard essential patents. Motorola, as part of Google, claimed they would license those patents on fair terms in exchange for Motorola technology being adopted as an industry standard.
“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice,” a Google spokeswoman told Dow Jones Newswire.
“Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards,” the spokeswoman continued. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.”
With this decision, Apple has suffered a severe blow as they cannot refile this case. They will have to successfully appeal the judge´s decision. This limits Apple´s ability to bring their case to another district court.
Google had finalized their acquisition of $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility earlier this year. This acquisition brought Google a direct line to Motorola´s line of mobile phones which it will begin tailoring more closely to their own software along with several wireless patents.
Apple had filed suit against Motorola Mobility in March of 2011 after Motorola sought 2.25 percent of all net sales in iOS products that use what are essentially industry standard patents. The companies that own these industry-essential patents are typically expected to offer them under licensing terms that are “fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory” or FRAND for short.
Apple has not been an active participant in the mobile phone field. They have lamented that the intellectual property at the heart of the dispute arises from Motorola´s alleged misuse of so-called standards-essential patents that are deemed crucial for the broader industry.
It was based on this regard that patent holders should provide access to licensing standards-essentials patents on fair and reasonable terms that Apple initially brought their litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Until just last week, things had looked as though they were going Apple´s way. But then, Google-owned Motorola filed a motion that required Apple to adhere to whatever the court deemed would be a fair royalty rate. Apple, in response, decided to play hardball, saying they would only agree to a royalty rate that didn´t exceed $1 per iPhone.
For those of you that have been paying close attention to this situation, you have been aware that Apple has been challenging Google in a patent war that has had several fronts, most notably the high-profile legal case of Apple v. Samsung.
While Apple had stated that they would not be bound by any decision that exceeded more than $1 per iPhone, Microsoft has stated that they will accept any terms that are set by U.S. District Judge James Robart at the trial in Seattle.
After yesterday´s dismissal, Google released a statement stating that Motorola has long offered licensing at reasonable rates. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple,” the company said.