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.