updated 10:55 pm EDT, Sat March 31, 2012
Apple mostly secure in key Motorola patent lawsuit
Apple landed a key decision in its civil lawsuit against Motorola in the US after Judge Richard Posner upheld the majority of a patent central to the case late this week. He mostly agreed with Apple's interpretation of its touchscreen heuristics patent, limiting complaints mostly to the lack of specificity for certain gestures. Motorola made arguments to invalidate the patent that were unpersuasive, including an odd insistence that a patent construction claim was only valid at a 27-degree angle of touch that had only been used as an example.
"I reject Motorola's argument (this is the third time they've made it and the third time I reject it) that the structure must be limited to the 27-degree angle used as an example by the specification," Judge Posner wrote.
The decision will likely lead to Motorola being found in violation of the patent. Short of making a strong claim that the patent itself is invalid, Motorola is likely to be found infringing and face the threats of damages and product bans for some of its Android devices, although most of those named are no longer sold.
Motorola's main hope in resisting the patent would be to claim an overly vague definition that would cover too much of the industry for too long. With the patent still active until 2028, Apple could theoretically limit how well other companies' touchscreens work past the point at which the technology would be relevant on Android and other platforms. [via Florian Mueller]