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Court terminates Apple, Motorola case

A Chicago judge has formally dismissed a patent case between Apple and Motorola.

Judge Richard Posner tossed the case with prejudice, meaning neither company can refile in that court. "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," Posner wrote in his decision.

Basically, neither Apple nor Motorola could prove that they were entitled to damages. Apple acknowledged that the judge's decision to exclude testimony from its damages expert witness doomed its claims on two of four patents.

In a statement, a Motorola Mobility spokeswoman said the company was pleased by the dismissal. "Apple's litigation campaign began with their attempt to assert 15 patents against us," she said. "As it relates to Apple's violation of our patents, we will continue our efforts to defend our own innovation."

The road to dismissal has been a bit of a roller coaster. Several days after dismissing the patent case between Apple and Motorola, Judge Posner reversed course and said he would allow Apple to pursue an injunction against Motorola devices. But Apple did not present a strong enough case after all, and Judge Posner decided to end the case.

Patent blogger Florian Mueller said the decisions was "not a huge surprise," given Posner's previous efforts to dismiss. Mueller also said that the case is "100 per cent certain to be appealed to the Federal Circuit," so this might not be the last we've heard of Motorola vs. Apple in the US.

The companies are also battling it out in courts overseas, as well as at the International Trade Commission. In April, the ITC found that Apple infringed on a 3G patent held by Motorola.

Motorola is also fighting a similar battle with Microsoft.