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Federal Judge Richard Posner Comments on Apple v. Google Smartphone Patent War

June 21, 2012

The patent wars continue between Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Motorola smartphones. In a recent hearing scheduled after Federal Judge Richard Posner cancelled an impending trial, Apple pleaded for an injunction against Motorola phones, claiming Motorola phones use Apple technologies. Posner did not make a ruling, however voiced his opinion that the US patent system is “chaos”.

an order barring the sale of Motorola phones could have “catastrophic effects.”

Background on Apple’s Patent “war”:

Since 2010 Apple has used its patents to slow its smartphone competitors, thereby limiting the growth potential of Google’s best-selling smartphone. This aggressive behavior has been the cause of multiple trials. Motorola sued Apple in October 2010 only to be countered with a suit brought on by Apple a month later. A trial between Samsung and Apple is also on the table.

Posner issued a series of pretrial rulings that eliminated nearly all of Motorola’s patent claims against Apple, while maintaining more of Apple’s claims against Motorola. That meant Apple had more to gain at the trial, which had been set to start last week.

What’s at stake:

Apple’s attorney, Matthew Powers, is asking that Motorola remove the shared technology from its smartphones within three months time.

“It means we’re not competing with them where they are using our technology against us,” Powers said.

Posner’s opinions:

Posner voiced his opinion that doing so would be harmful to consumers, and establishing a royalty on the technology would be the better solution. In addition, if Motorola got rid of Apple’s technology in three months, there is nothing stopping Apple from suing Motorola again for infringement.

“That’s all we need is new actions, new suits, because there’s not enough litigation worldwide between Apple and Android,” Posner said.

“You can’t just assume that because someone has a patent, he has some deep moral right to exclude everyone else” from using the technology, Posner said.


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