Apple Inc. v. Motorola Inc., Chicago Patent Infringement Suit, Shelved by Judge

Mere days before the federal Chicago patent-infringement trial involving Apple Inc. and Motorola Inc., a division of Google Inc. was slated to begin, it was scrapped.

This was a trial everyone - including our Chicago business attorneys - was expecting to watch closely, as the two technology giants have been locked in multiple battles over ownership of newly-developed software for cellular phones. The decision might have altered the products we ultimately see on the market, and illustrates how business law is adapting to an ever-evolving world.

The trial was supposed to start June 11. However, the federal judge presiding over the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois said he was tentatively dismissing the case with prejudice, citing the belief that neither side had adequately proven any right to damages against the other. He wrote a simple, two page opinion, saying he reserved the right to change his mind, but he wanted more time to research the matter.

Although both companies had requested injunctions on the other that would have prevented the continued sale of the products and services in question, the judge refused to do so, saying that imposition of such an injunction would cause disproportionate harm, were he to grant one side over the other.

Basically, Apple said that Motorola had taken liberties with four of its computer-related patents, which reportedly appear in Droid mobile phones and on the Xoom tablet. On the other hand, Motorola pushed back with a claim that Apple was infringing on a cellular communication patent.

Apple iPhones are hugely popular phones around the world, accounting for 20 percent of the market. On the other hand, about 60 percent of all smart phones in the world use Google's Android system.

Although this case involves two corporate giants, the principals involved are the same as many corporate patent infringement cases.

The way you have to look at it is that the judge is essentially the gatekeeper of all the evidence, deciding what a jury can hear and what they can't. The judge's assertion that neither side has enough to collect damages basically indicates that he didn't believe that the expert methods or evidence presented on either side was reasonable. Therefore, there was no reason for a jury to hear it.

This case is interesting because in the vast majority of infringement cases, the courts will simply let a jury decide. The fact that this judge didn't do that simply means that the judge wasn't buying either version.

Our Chicago business lawyers understand that for the vast majority of businesses, their ideas are their lifeblood. Patents are one way to protect them from being heisted. They are important to establish and they are important to defend. Our small business attorneys can help.

Jeremy A. Gibson & Associates is a law firm dedicated to business litigation in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. Call 877-452-4529 for a free consultation.

Additional Resources:
Apple, Motorola Mobility Patent Jury Trial Scrapped by Judge, By Andrew Harris, Bloomberg News