Judge cancels Apple-Motorola Mobility FRAND trial

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.

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TOPICS: Legal, Apple, Google, Patents
23

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

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23 comments
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  • I am Apple. I am the Law.

    I can use other people's patents. But nobody can use mine.
    tatiGmail
    • Did you read the article? It is FRAND patents, so every can use them, ...

      ... no one can demand cease of sales of products using them (hence Google/Motorola and Samsung are under investigation in USA, Europe and other regions for FRAND terms abuse).

      The only dispute here is the level of patent fees -- whether its if fair and reasonable or not. Initial 2.5% that Motorola demanded is obviously not, since no one else pays to Motorola such money. So Apple sued over this.

      There was similar story with Nokia couple of years ago. Initially Nokia claimed ridiculous fees, but then after the trial has started and Apple said they are going to drag this forever, Nokia came up with fair and reasonable terms and they settled; Nokia got its fair money for their standard essential patents.

      But Google does not need money (however much Motorola is losing ever quarter), so it has no interest in offering fair and reasonable licensing fees to Apple. So they rather have an endless trial.
      DDERSSS
      • But, according to the article...

        Motorola was perfectly happy to let the court decide what was "fair and reasonable", and that the reason why the case was dismissed was that Apple said they'd agree only if the value was less than $1 per device...

        Kinds like saying "someone else can set a price, so long as I am free to change it later..."
        traumadog1
      • And you, sir, misunderstood FRAND license

        Read the Judge's order: "Motorola points out that under ETSI’s Intellectual Property Rights policies, it was entitled to condition its license offer to Apple on receiving a reciprocal license for Apple’s standards-essential patents. The provision at issue states that members’ commitments to license standards-essential patents on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms “may be made subject to the condition that those who seek licenses agree to reciprocate.” Dkt. #288-3, Annex 6: ETSI Intellectual Property Rights Policy § 6.1. "

        Yet, Apple didn't or simply ignored the fact that Motorola giving other FRAND licensees less than 2.5% with reciprocal conditions - which licensees also required to cross-license their SEP. Apple didn't want to share ANYTHING and complain about being charge more than $1.

        So there you go. Apple just lose one of many of their cases against FRAND.
        Samic
        • Apple does not claim damages on *any* of its FRAND patents agains Google/..

          ...Motorola, Samsung, or anyone else. So this ruling quote you cited is purely formal.
          DDERSSS
          • How can Apple claim damage?

            If Apple have been freeloading and not paying ANYTHING yet?
            Samic
          • One has nothing to do with another

            The part you quoted referred to the case if Apple was trying to claim damage on any of its FRAND-conditioned patents. Apple has quite a number of its patents (for example, up to 400 of LTE-pool patents), but it does not use it in any of more than three dozen trials it is engaged around the world.

            And Apple does not have to pay for other's FRAND patents until the fee which is asked is fair and reasonable. Once Nokia came up with fair and reasonable fee percentage, Apple easily paid. But not a second earlier than that.

            But, as I said, Google/Motorola and Samsung have no interest in offering real-life fees, they try to *abuse* their FRAND-conditioned patents to make a leverage against Apple in their trials about Apple's non-FRAND multi-touch UI utility and design patents. Hence those companies are under investigations around the world.

            Finally, some of the claims that Google/Motorola and Samsung ask are bogus since communication chip manufacturing companies (Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, et cetera) already paid license fees for corresponding patents, and the license fees already included in the price of chips themselves.
            DDERSSS
          • Do you ever believe what you write

            Which world are you from?
            Van Der
          • And the court say otherwise

            since the court clearly think it was Apple refused to negotiate the "fair and reasonable" terms. It was Apple try to get the court to determinate the price of Motorola's FRAND AND refused to accept anything more than $1.

            Motorola basically says if Apple doesn't agree with the term, which fully compliant with ETSI, and haven't pay anything for the license yet Apple don't have a case here. Mind you Motorola is completely okay for the court to say how much for it's FRAND since both party clearly knows that it's gonna cost more than $1.

            At the end of the day, the court said it would not be fair for Motorola to negotiate through the court that Apple would refused anyway if the result is not of Apple's liking. Also Apple is trying to turn the court into it's own arbitrator and the court said it is not appropriate to put burden on the public legal system for something like this.
            Samic
      • One other point...

        Apple's claim to this was that Motorola could use the FRAND Patents to keep Apple out of the market... Yet

        1) Motorola hadn't done that, and
        2) even if Apple thought the FRAND fees were excessive and didn't pay them, Apple could still use that fact to prevent a Motorola injunction on their products...

        Therefore, it would be hard to argue what legal remedy Apple would get for an at present "theoretical" risk... Would it get a theoretical award? Unfortunately, the law doesn't work that way.
        traumadog1
      • DDERSSS is a freeloader

        Something is wrong with you and Apple; Fair and Reasonable CAN NOT be set by YOU nor APPLE...

        Mitt is Right, you 47% think you are entitle to get stuff for free or little to nothing..Leeches!
        Marty Kaan
        • Marty, you've got to go back to 1950!

          You've got to stop your parents from meeting! Otherwise, the world will have one more selfish, bigoted little mind supporting the policies of "trickle-down economics," which has been proven to be false through decades of experimentation!
          Rich Tietjens
          • So true

            letting business make a profit has never been shown to supply jobs. Let's tax then out of the USA, that will create all kinds of new democrat votes...the unemployed.
            timspublic1@...
  • King Apple..

    After what they over charge people for their products they demand to pay less. Someone needs to get these people of their high horse.
    lares3k
    • No one pays those ridiculous 2.25% rates that Motorola/Google ask from ...

      ... Apple. And this is the reason why Motorola/Google, as well as Samsung, are under investigation in USA, Europe and other regions for abusing the terms of FRAND licensing. But you are so blinded by your religious fanatism that you can not see even this simple fact and go into denial mode over it.
      DDERSSS
      • No, they don't...

        That number goes down with cross-license arrangements. Something that Apple hadn't offered, as far as I know.
        traumadog1
      • Blinded? Denial?

        Hello kettle, this is the pot.......

        You were wrong above. It was pointed out to you, but you still keep making the same invalid arguments. Slow learner?
        D.T.Long
      • You can't have only one side

        Cross licensing. You apparently keep leaving that out of your arguments.
        rhonin
      • Baghdad Ali

        Do you ever believe what you write? FRAND licensing is not free. Apple is making 100% profits on most of its products.
        Van Der
  • Apple won't be bound by the court's rate

    "...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."

    What's the point of the trial if Apple is not obligated to adhere to the court ruling? All hail Judge Barbara B. Crabb, she did the right thing.
    AxlR