Apple files to put Motorola suits on hold until Google completes acquisition

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple has filed motions to temporarily halt two of its lawsuits with Motorola Mobility, arguing that the company gave up the authority to sue in its pending merger with Google.



As noted by Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, Apple filed motions to stay for a lawsuit brought by Motorola against it in the southern District of Florida and for a separate suit that the company filed against Motorola in the Western District of Wisconsin.



Apple's lawyers argue that Motorola has ceded control over its patents to Google in its merger agreement. As such, the company argues that Motorola lacks the standing to sue.



The Cupertino, Calif., company asserts that it shouldn't have to spend resources litigating claims against a party that is no longer able to enforce its patents. "Apple should not have to face the threat of an injunction based on the claims of a party that now has no standing to bring those claims," the filing reads.



Even if Apple to successfully defended itself in Motorola's case against it before the acquisition goes through, the case could potentially be reopened by Google after the merger. Thus, Apple argues that it "should not be required to litigate this case only to reach a result that may well be overturned on appeal due to the absence of prudential standing," which refers to court-dictated criteria that establishes the right to sue.



"[W]ere Apple to prevail in this case, it risks an attack on its victory on appeal by a third party, whether Google or another Android smartphone manufacturer, contending that the judgment should be overturned due to a lack of prudential standing."



The filing pointed to Google's acquisition of Motorola, announced in August, as "one of the most significant transactions in the technology industry," referring specifically to comments by company executives that described the deal as an effort to "protect" the Android ecosystem.



"To further its pending acquisition by Google, Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action. According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit," Apple wrote.



The document went on to note that Motorola cannot, without Google's consent, sue for infringement of its patents in any new action, settle pending litigation that would require a license to any of its patents, license or sublicense is patents except in limited circumstances relating to the sale of Motorola's products, assign its rights in its patents and/or grant a covenant not to sue for infringement of its patents.



Motorola's response to the motion is due shortly. If the motion were successful, it would only put a hold on the two aforementioned cases between the companies. A second case in Wisconsin is currently stayed while awaiting the results from ITC investigations from both parties.



Meanwhile, Apple is hoping for a third case in Wisconsin to continue because it relates to claims that Motorola is not providing fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licenses to standards-related agents. Mueller notes that Apple's efforts to pause its other cases with Motorola could be an attempt to buy time for this FRAND case, which could affect the other cases.



Motorola's complaint against Apple with the ITC is currently stayed because the Administrative Law Judge in charge of the investigation recently retired. Finally, hearings for Apple's ITC case against Motorola are set to begin in two weeks, with an initial determination scheduled for the end of November.



The cases involve numerous patents being asserted against each other, mainly centering around wireless and smartphone technologies.



Apple is currently embroiled in several other complicated legal disputes against the top Android handset makers, including Samsung and HTC. The company has recently won small victories against both Samsung and HTC.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    Lawyers and their lawyering. They'll never be out of a job... they bill by the hour, and these cases could take years. Lots of motions. Lots of paper.
  • Reply 2 of 38
    Apple is trying to bait Google into suing them directly so they can counter sue.

    Good strategy by Apple.

    Lets see if Google has the balls to take on Apple directly.

    Let the games begin.
  • Reply 3 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Patranus View Post


    Apple is trying to bait Google into suing them directly so they can counter sue.

    Good strategy by Apple.

    Lets see if Google has the balls to take on Apple directly.

    Let the games begin.



    Apple haven't had the bollocks to take on Google as yet despite plenty of opportunity. With Apple being as litigious as they have been as of late, why haven't they attacked Google directly?



    It seems it's Apple who lack any type of testicles.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    noahjnoahj Posts: 4,502member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GalaxyTab View Post


    Apple haven't had the bollocks to take on Google as yet despite plenty of opportunity. With Apple being as litigious as they have been as of late, why haven't they attacked Google directly?



    It seems it's Apple who lack any type of testicles.



    They have been sued first in many cases and have only taken the lead when their products have been copied blatantly. Google does not produce any phones directly that infringe, only the OS that runs on them. The phone makers pretty much stand alone in producing the infringing devices.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    Hell, Apple was sued first in THIS case. I think it's a good move.
  • Reply 6 of 38
    That's right, Tim! Stop wasting your time with the henchmen, and go straight for the Boss!
  • Reply 7 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,013member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    Lawyers and their lawyering. They'll never be out of a job... they bill by the hour, and these cases could take years. Lots of motions. Lots of paper.



    Doesn't Apple have its own team on salary?
  • Reply 8 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NoahJ View Post


    They have been sued first in many cases and have only taken the lead when their products have been copied blatantly. Google does not produce any phones directly that infringe, only the OS that runs on them. The phone makers pretty much stand alone in producing the infringing devices.



    Wow you don't know what you're talking about do you? If it were Android that Apple thought infringed on something they would sue Google. In the case of Samsung the only patents that have been upheld so far are the picture gallery and one other. This is a stall tactic spun by the author of the article. The Motorola patent portfolio is one of the strongest in the industry regarding mobile electronics. This smacks of desperation seizing an opportunity.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post


    This smacks of desperation seizing an opportunity.



    The covenants cited in the article all look perfectly standard in this type of a transaction. If Apple says that the covenants preclude standing, then it is tantamount to saying that no company with a pending merger has any standing to use the courts.



    I doubt that they will succeed.
  • Reply 10 of 38
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post


    The covenants cited in the article all look perfectly standard in this type of a transaction. If Apple says that the covenants preclude standing, then it is tantamount to saying that no company with a pending merger has any standing to use the courts.



    I doubt that they will succeed.



    Google has already given Motorola patents to HTC, who are using them against Apple in a separate case.



    So who owns these patents?



    That is the question.



    If Google owns them, Motorola has no case.



    If Motorola owns them what the hell is Google doing in giving them away?
  • Reply 11 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Patranus View Post


    Apple is trying to bait Google into suing them directly so they can counter sue.

    Good strategy by Apple.

    Lets see if Google has the balls to take on Apple directly.

    Let the games begin.



    Not sure if Apple would sue Google directly, and vice versa. Google makes too much revenue off of the search, Maps, YouTube, etc. integration in Apple products, and Apple would be foolish to strip those out of their products without a better alternative. Unless Apple has been developing their own, better search, Maps, and streaming video site, Bing and others are not going to be an option right now.
  • Reply 12 of 38
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Google has already given Motorola patents to HTC, who are using them against Apple in a separate case.



    So who owns these patents?



    That is the question.



    If Google owns them, Motorola has no case.



    If Motorola owns them what the hell is Google doing in giving them away?



    Google only gave (or sold) 9 of the patents to HTC. So HTC can sue based on those 9 patents and Google can sue based on the rest.
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Google has already given Motorola patents to HTC, who are using them against Apple in a separate case.



    So who owns these patents?



    That is the question.



    If Google owns them, Motorola has no case.



    If Motorola owns them what the hell is Google doing in giving them away?





    You need to examine your premise. It cannot be correct.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post


    Wow you don't know what you're talking about do you? If it were Android that Apple thought infringed on something they would sue Google. In the case of Samsung the only patents that have been upheld so far are the picture gallery and one other. This is a stall tactic spun by the author of the article. The Motorola patent portfolio is one of the strongest in the industry regarding mobile electronics. This smacks of desperation seizing an opportunity.



    Im not a patent expert, but most of what you've wrote is counter to what I've been reading. Apple has initially won a verdict in Germany against samsung (as you aluded to), and the gallery function is actually related to android, not samsung specifically. If anything, it would appear apple is using these manufacturers to test and see what patents are going to be considered strong and valid so they can have precedence if/when google and apple go to court directly. This would make some sense as google would probay have the most resources to delay and frustrate apples efforts, so having a bunch of patents which have already been upheld could be very helpful.



    Industry leaders and patent experts do not value motorola's (now possibly googles) current patent portfolio very highly, with the exception of old-fake steve jobs whose initial position has been the laughing stock of most of the articles written on the subject. Apparently motorola has sold off most of their valuable patents already, and that this buyout was a fairly desperate and out-of-character move for google.



    Finally, the author was fairly clear that this is a stall tactic by apple and he went on to explain in laymans terms part of why apple is probably stalling, which could also explain why motorola is rushing to use these patents when the buyout hasn't been finalized. Thus, I'm not seeing this "spin" the author is being accused of putting on this article.
  • Reply 15 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigdaddyguido View Post


    Im not a patent expert, but most of what you've wrote is counter to what I've been reading. Apple has initially won a verdict in Germany against samsung (as you aluded to), and the gallery function is actually related to android, not samsung specifically. If anything, it would appear apple is using these manufacturers to test and see what patents are going to be considered strong and valid so they can have precedence if/when google and ap....



    The victory in Germany is laughable at best because it's not one. The physical "desgins" are too similar... . The break neck speed this one gets overturned will be record breaking. Even now in Australia the judge has asked for sales numbers to prove that if any infringement occurred that harm was done.



    The reason Apple doesn't go after Google is the Palm patents. Those are the big money ones and the same reason Apple dropped all mention of suing Palm when the Pre was released.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post


    The victory in Germany is laughable at best because it's not one. The physical "desgins" are too similar... . The break neck speed this one gets overturned will be record breaking. Even now in Australia the judge has asked for sales numbers to prove that if any infringement occurred that harm was done.



    The reason Apple doesn't go after Google is the Palm patents. Those are the big money ones and the same reason Apple dropped all mention of suing Palm when the Pre was released.



    We'll see on how quickly the German court decision gets repealed. I'm not sure how that means that apple wasn't suing samsung over a feature of android though, and so either way I think it shows apple is suing manufacturers over things found in google and are not going to sue google for android features right away.



    Also, HP bought Palm, not google. I can find articles suggesting google should have bought palm but no where states google bought any patents from palm. As for why apple didn't sue palm over multi-touch, I'm not positive, but it seems just as possible they didn't sue palm because the pre was never popular and so a suit would only draw more attention to the pre, and possibly help pre sales more than hurt them. It very well could be that they were scared of palms patents, but I can't find direct evidence of such and it all seems irrelevant to this discussion since HP owns palm and not google.
  • Reply 17 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AHrubik View Post


    The victory in Germany is laughable at best because it's not one. The physical "desgins" are too similar... . The break neck speed this one gets overturned will be record breaking. Even now in Australia the judge has asked for sales numbers to prove that if any infringement occurred that harm was done.



    The reason Apple doesn't go after Google is the Palm patents. Those are the big money ones and the same reason Apple dropped all mention of suing Palm when the Pre was released.



    The injunction in Germany is over a month old. Record breaking break neck speed seems to be awfully slow.
  • Reply 18 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Patranus View Post


    Apple is trying to bait Google into suing them directly so they can counter sue.



    Hardly.



    Apple hasn't had to bait anyone. Google did this by buying the patents. It's only fair that right to sue goes to them with right to license. And it is only fair that Apple get the case dropped and refiled by the correct parties.
  • Reply 19 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    Google has already given Motorola patents to HTC, who are using them against Apple in a separate case.



    So who owns these patents?



    That is the question.



    If Google owns them, Motorola has no case.



    If Motorola owns them what the hell is Google doing in giving them away?



    I'm confused. I thought a previous article said HTC was suing Apple but this one says Motorola is suing Apple. Unless money has changed hands and has gone through all approval hoops, then Google nor HTC does not own these patents. Sounds like Google is getting ahead of itself.
  • Reply 20 of 38
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    Not sure if Apple would sue Google directly, and vice versa. Google makes too much revenue off of the search, Maps, YouTube, etc. integration in Apple products, and Apple would be foolish to strip those out of their products without a better alternative. Unless Apple has been developing their own, better search, Maps, and streaming video site, Bing and others are not going to be an option right now.



    I agree to an extent.



    The only thing that Google offers is YouTube.



    We already know Apple is developing its own mapping service.



    I actually lost a bet about using Bing to a friend who works up at Microsoft.

    I find that Bing is BETTER than Google when it comes to every day searches.



    The only time I now use Google is for technical searches. Outside of that Bing is great.
Sign In or Register to comment.