US judge slams patent lawsuits - PC Retail

US judge slams patent lawsuits

Throws out ‘ridiculous’ complaints filed by Apple and Google
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A US judge has ruled against Apple in its lawsuit against Google, dismissing the complaint as ‘ridiculous’.

The lawsuit, which arose after Google bought and incorporated the Motorola Mobility division – including all patents rights – and sued Apple in early 2010, followed by counter-suits from Apple.

However, the presiding Judge Richard Posner dismissed most of the claims and cancelled the full trial. Although he relented by allowing both parties to file sealed claims, these were also dismissed as the judge found them to be lacking.

Among reasons cited for the dismissal were a lack of strong arguments – for example, Apple’s technical experts claim that Motorola could have avoided infringement by purchasing a certain chip, but that chip is never identified.

Irrelevant arguments were also cited, as Posner noted in his written report: “Apple wanted me to allow into evidence media reports attesting to what a terrific product the iPhone is. I said I would not permit this because the quality of the iPhone (and of related Apple products, primarily the iPad) and consumers’ regard for it have, so far as the record shows, nothing to do with the handful of patent claims that I had ruled presented triable issues of infringement.”

Among his remarks, Posner appears to have ruled out the idea that one company can sue another for generally ‘copying’ their products.

“Apple is complaining that Motorola’s phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole,” noted Posner. “But Motorola’s desire to sell products that compete with the iPhone is a separate harm—and a perfectly legal one—from any harm caused by patent infringement.”

You can read Judge Posner’s full remarks here. If it survives the inevitable appeals process, then this ruling could spell the end of the seemingly endless patent wars that have characterised the tech scene over the last few years.

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