Judge cancels Apple-Motorola Mobility FRAND trial

Summary:The Apple v. Motorola Mobility FRAND trial will not be starting today -- or possibly ever -- as planned.

The legal war between Apple and Google (and its manufacturing partners) has been thrown for another loop as a U.S.-based case is all but canned.

The federal judge presiding over Apple v. Motorola Mobility has canceled the trial, which was scheduled to commence today at the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin.

For reference, Apple sued Motorola Mobility in March 2011 after the now Google-owned subsidiary demanded 2.25 percent of all net sales on iOS products that incorporated select industry-standard patents. This would fall within the FRAND category, which means patents are vital to the industry and held under licensing terms that are deemed fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory.

Essentially, Apple thought Motorola's demands were excessive. However, the iPhone maker's only shot at resuscitating this case now is to go for an appeal.

Here is the reason given by Judge Barbara B. Crabb, according to courtroom minutes on Monday morning: "hearing; court finds that case can not proceed to trial on remaining issue; case dismissed with prejudice."

On Saturday, Groklaw hinted that this could happen as Crabb "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."

Foss Patents's Florian Mueller provided an eventful recap for last week's turn of events leading up to this dismissal. But Mueller also argued that Crabb likely didn't care for Apple's last minute proposal:

Yesterday, Motorola's lawyers sought to reinforce the court's skepticism while Apple justified its $1 position with the fact that Motorola might later refuse to pay a royalty to Apple, for its own wireless SEPs, based on the same methodology. Apple made two alternative proposals for the way forward: either Motorola could accept to be bound by the principles the court would establish in this case or Apple proposed to build an evidentiary record, over the next 6-9 months or so, and hold a trial setting a rate for a wireless SEP cross-license.

For a look at the full record about the trial cancellation, scroll through below:

Apple v. Motorola Mobility

Topics: Legal, Apple, Google, Patents

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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