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Judge chastizes Apple, Motorola for using courts as business strategy

updated 01:30 pm EDT, Thu April 11, 2013

Says parties have 'no interest' in quick settlements

Apple and Google-owned Motorola Mobility are only using lawsuits as a business strategy and have no interest in solving their Florida patent lawsuit, says US District Judge Robert Scola. "The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end," he writes in a Tuesday court order discovered by Bloomberg. The case includes over 180 claims connected to 12 patents, and the two parties are even contesting the meaning of over 100 terms.

Scola complains that the two sides haven't streamlined the case on their own, calling it "obstreperous and cantankerous" behavior. "Without a hint of irony, the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess they made by holding a hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case," he elaborates.

The companies now have four months to narrow the scope of the case. If they don't, Scola threatens, the case will be put on hold until all the conflicts over patent terms are resolved. Apple has yet to respond, and a Google spokesman has refused to comment.

Critics have argued that major smartphone makers, particularly Apple, have turned to lawsuits as a way of protecting marketshare. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs infamously called Google's Android platform "stolen," and said he was willing to go to "thermonuclear war" over the matter. Since then, lawsuits have become common amongst smartphone makers, even without Apple's involvement.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Eh, maybe...

    "Critics have argued that major smartphone makers, particularly Apple, have turned to lawsuits as a way of protecting marketshare."

    That would be true if there were no obvious IP theft preceding all of this. If it was just to protect market share, then Apple would be suing all the set top box manufacturers, and all the subcompact notebook manufacturers, and all the music services, and,...
    I think we can set that "just to protect market share" critique aside.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Strongly agreed

    While I don't know the particulars of this individual case so I can't say if Judge Scola is wrong or right about the behaviour of the respective companies' lawyers, a larger view of the various cases around the world makes it pretty clear that it is in fact Google (more via Motorola than Google itself) and Samsung who have "turned to lawsuits as a way of protecting marketshare," since they are almost unilaterally the ones stealing IP and abusing SEPs and building business models on them. Apple and Microsoft, for the most part, appear to me to be defending themselves from having their IP and designs stolen (and I'm no fan of MS, but facts are facts).

  1. Sebastien

    Registered User

    Joined: 04-29-00

    Oh, the irony.

    It absolutely kills me.

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