On Monday, in a setback for Apple Inc, its lawsuit over alleged patent infringement against the Motorola Mobility unit of Google was dismissed just hours before the case was set to go for trial in Wisconsin. With this new turn of events, Apple loses a key round in its war against other smartphone makers.
The dismissal was not over merits but over jurisdiction. Though the technology giants were ready for their courtroom battle over the patents acquired by Google when it purchased Motorola in May, District Judge Barbara Crabb had questioned last week, whether she had the legal authority to hear the claims of Apple. On Monday, she dismissed the matter.
The dispute over authority arose in Wisconsin, when the judge ruled that she might decide what should constitute fair royalty for Motorola’s patents, but Apple argued that it would not submit itself to be bound by the order of the judge if she decided such rates to exceed $1 per Apple phone. Following such a contention, Judge Crabb wrote on Friday, “It has become clear that Apple’s interest in a license is qualified.”
However, Apple has submitted a brief following the judge’s ruling claiming that she does have authority to hear the claims. On the other hand, and expectedly, Google expressed that the company was pleased with the order of dismissal. If Crabb reconsiders, the trial may ensue, otherwise Apple might have to appeal to have its case heard.
In recent years, global patent wars are being waged between the technology giants like Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Microsoft, Google and others. In a majority of the cases Google or other companies that use the Android operating system are being assailed by either Apple or Microsoft. While Apple claims that Android is a copy of its iOS smartphone software, Microsoft has been fighting on specific patent rights.
Both Apple and Microsoft have been alleging that Google is demanding too high a royalty for standard and essential patents. On the other hand Samsung claims Apple is claiming that it has a patent over round-cornered rectangles and alleging Samsung of infringing such rights.
Microsoft is also set for a trial against Motorola on similar issues as the one dismissed on Monday, but in Seattle next week.
The case in U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin is Apple Inc. v. Motorola Mobility Inc., No. 11-cv-178.