Skip to main content

US judge throws out latest Apple vs Motorola patent dispute

A US judge has thrown out the latest patent case between Apple and Motorola.

The Wisconsin case was filed more than a year ago, when Apple objected to Motorola's request for a 2.25 per cent licensing fee on iOS devices that used a Motorola wireless patent.

As noted by patent blogger Florian Mueller, things appeared to be going in Apple's favour ahead of a trial that was set to start yesterday. But when the Cupertino-based firm said it was not willing to pay more than $1 (62p) per iPhone, "Judge Barbara B. Crabb reacted negatively and started to wonder whether there was any point in having the FRAND trial that the court and the parties had already prepared for," Mueller wrote.

At issue is something known as FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing obligations, which are intended to keep major corporations in check and avoid abusive patent-related behaviour. Basically, if a company holds a patent on a technology that is essential to a particular industry, they should make every effort to license that technology, even to major rivals.

Some companies - like Motorola and Samsung - have been accused of proposing exorbitant licensing fees and suing when the companies with which they are negotiating balk at the offer.

"We're pleased that the court has dismissed Apple's lawsuit with prejudice," a Motorola spokeswoman said. "Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive standards-essential patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards. We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple."

Apple has the option to appeal.

In June, a Chicago judge 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. Basically, neither Apple nor Motorola could prove that they were entitled to damages, he said.