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November 06, 2012

Apple Lawsuit against Motorola Tossed Out by U.S. Judge

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

In still another twist in the continuing fight between Apple and Google (News - Alert), a Wisconsin federal judge has tossed out Apple’s patent lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility.

This marks the second time this year a lawsuit in the case was canceled in the United States court system.

Apple (News - Alert) filed the Wisconsin lawsuit against Motorola Mobility in March 2011, in which it alleged Motorola wanted excessive royalty payments, according to CNET.

Motorola (News - Alert) Mobility desired “2.25 percent of all net sales on iOS products that incorporated select industry-standard patents,” ZDNet reported.

Apple has only a slim chance of getting its case refilled via an appeal, news reports said.

The potential for District Judge Barbara Crabb to toss out the lawsuit became more apparent last week. One legal blog, Groklaw, reported on Saturday that the judge "noticed that Apple's request for the court to set a royalty rate for Motorola's standards-essential patents appears to be conditional – or maybe a better word would be illusory – since Apple revealed in a filing and then at the final pretrial conference that it won't be bound by the court's rate if it doesn't agree that it's low enough."

Apple was willing to pay a FRAND (Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory) patent licensing rate of no more than $1 per unit, news reports said.

“Apple asks the judge for a rate and then tells her what it must be,” Groklaw reported on Saturday. “Maybe there will be a trial and maybe there will not.”

“Apparently, Judge Crabb was not persuaded by Apple's last-minute proposal and determined that there was no case worth holding a trial,” added the Foss Patents blog. “Apple missed an opportunity to make important headway against Motorola Mobility…When she [the judge] started to doubt Apple's intentions, the case fell apart.”

Monday’s dismissal marks the second time this year a U.S. trial was tossed out regarding Apple v. Motorola Mobility. In June, Judge Richard Posner canceled a federal trial between the same companies in Illinois, the Foss Patents blog said.

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