Judge Questions Apple’s Bid For An Injunction Against Motorola

BY Rounak Jain

Published 21 Jun 2012

apple motorola

Apple’s lawyers appeared in a Chicago court today in a scheduled hearing, to defend their patent infringement lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility.

The lawyers were expected to justify Apple’s claims, which seek an injunction against certain Motorola phones in the US.

Reuters reported earlier today:

Federal Judge Richard Posner in Chicago will hear Apple argue why it should be able to seek an order barring the sale of some Motorola phones. Posner’s decision could affect the iPhone maker’s ability to negotiate favorable licensing agreements in its legal fights against Motorola and other competitors like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

[…]

A clear victory in one of the U.S. legal cases could strengthen Apple’s hand in negotiating cross-licensing deals, where companies agree to let each other use their patented technologies. Apple and Samsung are scheduled for trial July 30 in federal court in San Jose, California.

Reuters now reports that Federal Judge Richard Posner did not make any formal rulings at today’s hearing. Apple attorney Matthew Powers told the judge that it was not seeking a ban on the sale of Motorola phones, but was looking for an injunction that would require Motorola to remove Apple’s patented technology from their phones within three months.

Judge Posner however was not convinced if that would be in the best interests of consumers and thought it was preferable if Motorola paid Apple a royalty for its patent rather than depriving customers of that feature.

“You can’t just assume that because someone has a patent, he has some deep moral right to exclude everyone else” from using the technology, Posner said.

Motorola’s lawyers had also asked for an injunction against Apple for infringing on its standard essential patent. Posner struck it down as well:

“I don’t see how you can have injunction against the use of a standard essential patent,” Posner told Motorola’s attorneys.

Posner questioned the worth of many software patents and noted that there were deep systematic problems with U.S. patent system.

The trial started back in October 2010, when Motorola sued Apple with its own set of patents, preempting Apple’s expected strike. Apple fired back in the same month with its own claims that asked for a ban on the sale of certain Motorola phones. This was of course a part of Apple’s larger strategy to engage in litigation with a number of Android manufacturers that included Samsung and HTC.

Most of Motorola’s assertions were dismissed by the judge, while a decision on many of Apple’s claims remained pending. A hearing was scheduled earlier this month, which the judge cancelled on the grounds that neither party to back their clams up. However, the judge granted Apple’s request for a hearing for today.

This isn’t the only legal activity that Apple’s involved in during this week. Apple lost a case to Samsung in Netherlands over a 3G patent, and might even have to compensate Samsung.