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US judge dismisses Apple patents lawsuit against Motorola

Nancy Weil | June 25, 2012
A U.S. federal judge Friday ruled that Apple cannot seek an injunction against Motorola Mobility in its smartphone patents lawsuit, tossing out the case "with prejudice," meaning that neither side can refile, although the ruling could be appealed.

Calling this "Apple's 'feel good' theory," Posner wrote that approach did nothing to prove that the patent infringement it claimed did anything to decrease its sales or market share, or that it diminished "consumer goodwill toward Apple products."

"Apple is claiming that Motorola's phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole. 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," he wrote.

He further found that "Apple's soothing reassurance that a tailored injunction would avert significant hardship to Motorola" was not persuasive. "The notion that these minor-seeming infringements have cost Apple market share and consumer goodwill is implausible, has virtually no support in the record, and so fails to indicate that the benefits to Apple from an injunction would exceed the costs to Motorola," he wrote.

Representatives of Apple and Motorola could not be reached for comment Saturday, but Motorola reportedly is "pleased" with the ruling, as would be expected.

Apple could appeal Posner's ruling. Meanwhile, the two companies will continue to go at each other legally, with a case pending before the International Trade Commission and lawsuits ongoing in a number of other countries.


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