updated 05:00 pm EDT, Tue May 1, 2012
Apple threatened with sanctions for future abuses
Judge Richard Posner, of the US District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, has asked Apple to stop submitting "frivolous filings" in a patent fight with Motorola. "I've had my fill of frivolous filings by Apple," an order by the judge reads. The trigger for the reprimand was an Apple motion to block Motorola from deposing a particular expert. While the expert's identity is still under seal, Posner complained that one half of the motion was "frivolous," and a second "untimely."
"The next such motion, and I shall forbid [Apple] to file any motions without first moving for leave to file," the order states. Apple is believed to have angered Posner by earlier using an expert's wife's health to block a deposition, but then making a second attempt just three days later without mentioning medical issues.
Posner has been strict with Apple in the past. In February the judge asked that Apple "winnow" the number of patents it was contesting; both Apple and Motorola dropped some claims. In April he quashed a motion to reconsider a ruling in one Motorola patent case, saying that Apple's motion was based on "flagrant misreadings." March, though, saw Posner uphold some Apple patent claims, giving the company a longer-term edge.