Common sense prevails: Apple v Motorola case is dismissed

Everyone’s been frustrated with the constant stream of patent lawsuits between all of the major players in the mobile market. It appears Judge Posner was just as annoyed with the process as the rest of the world when he dismissed the case between Apple and Motorola with prejudice, meaning Apple is not allowed to re-file their claim.

His 38-page decision is an interesting and humorous read. In essence he slapped both companies on the wrist, said, “Stop being stupid,” and sent them both home.

In fact neither party is entitled to an injunction. Neither has shown that damages would not be an adequate remedy. True, neither has presented sufficient evidence of damages to withstand summary judgment—but that is not because damages are impossible to calculate with reasonable certainty and are therefore an inadequate remedy; it’s because the parties have failed to present enough evidence to create a triable issue. They had an adequate legal remedy but failed to make a prima facie case of how much money, by way of such remedy, they are entitled to. That was a simple failure of proof.

The majority of his commentary was aimed at Apple and their ineptitude in the courtroom. The company failed to prove any damages and at one point, the judge chastised Apple’s legal team in the decision by saying:

Apple claims that Motorola profited from infringement by incorporating the desirable features of Apple’s patented technology into its own devices without either paying a royalty for a license to use the patents or incurring the cost of inventing around them. Apple has never contended that these benefits to Motorola of infringement cannot be quantified. It merely has failed, despite its vast resources and superb legal team, to do so in a minimally acceptable manner—failed whether because of mistakes in trial preparation (which even the best lawyers can make), or because too many cooks spoil the stew (Apple is represented by three law firms in this litigation), or maybe because the infringements did not deprive Apple of any profits (I’ll come back to this counterintuitive point).

Apple’s legal team apparently tried to convince the court that an injunction against Motorola would not be harmful to the company, but Posner disagreed, saying, “I am not persuaded by Apple’s soothing reassurance that a tailored injunction would avert significant hardship to Motorola.

There’s other amusing commentary in the decision, mostly revolving around Apple’s lawyers trying to win the case in the court of public opinion, something Posner was able to see through easily.

In its latest written and oral submissions Apple attempts what I told its legal team at a pretrial conference I would not let it do in the liability trials then envisaged: turn the case 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. I said I would not permit this…Typical is the statement in Apple’s brief of June 18 that “an Apple survey identified watching streaming videos from YouTube among the top ten planned activities for consumers using iPads in the No. 1:11-cv-08540 31United States.” The ‘263 patent in issue in this litigation is not a claim to a monopoly of streaming video!

The judge ends the decision by saying, “It would be ridiculous to dismiss a suit for failure to prove damages and allow the plaintiff to refile the suit so that he could have a second chance to prove damages.” Even though Apple can’t re-file the case, we fully expect to see their stable of lawyers appeal this decision.

In this judgement, Judge Posner is basically saying what everyone in the real world has been saying since day one. We highly recommend that you read the Judgement Documents to find even more entertaining tidbits.

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