Richard Posner Stories July 5, 2012

Reuters interviewed the U.S. judge today who dismissed Apple’s patent court case against Motorola, and the details behind the jurist’s reasoning for tossing the lawsuit are as interesting as they are controversial.

Richard Posner sits on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and disputes whether software and related tech industries should even have patents for their products.

“It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries,” said Posner, referring to the slew of features in smartphones that are legally protected. “You just have this proliferation of patents. It’s a problem.”

Posner, 73, argued the pharmaceutical industry better deserved protection for its intellectual property because of the, as Reuters coined it, “enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug.” He tossed Apple’s lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility last month and denied an injunction against the sale of Motorola devices using Apple’s patented technology.

The judge attributed Apple’s scramble to attack competitors allegedly using its technology to a “constant struggle for survival.”

“As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem,” Posner contended.

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Richard Posner Stories June 20, 2012

Apple in court: Apple vs Motorola, Samsung wins damages, Kodak sues

There are several reports today on Apple’s ongoing court cases with Samsung and Motorola. First, we have the latest on the United States case between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility with Reuters reporting on a “crucial hearing” scheduled for today:

Federal Judge Richard Posner in Chicago will hear Apple argue why it should be able to seek an order barring the sale of some Motorola phones. Posner’s decision could affect the iPhone maker’s ability to negotiate favorable licensing agreements in its legal fights against Motorola and other competitors like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd… last week Posner granted Apple’s request for a hearing on a possible injunction, and ordered both sides to submit legal arguments in advance. Those documents were filed under seal on Monday.

The last time we reported on this Apple/Samsung Galaxy case in the U.S., Apple was forced to request a separate hearing for a ban on the Galaxy S III. A trial date for Apple’s previous injunction requests for the Galaxy line is set for July 30. In its patent disputes with the company in Europe, Reuters reported today that a Dutch court in The Hague ruled Apple would have to pay damages for violating a Samsung patent with pre-iPhone 4S devices:

A court in The Hague ruled Apple had violated a Samsung patent used in some of Apple’s phones and tablet computers to connect to the Internet, and said damages should be based on certain iPhone and iPad sales in the Netherlands… Damages should be based on Dutch sales figures since August 4, 2010, which the court said was the date when Apple could have known it was violating Samsung’s patent.

FossPatents weighed in:

…there’s no question that Apple is ready, willing and able to pay a FRAND royalty rate. It just didn’t want Samsung to win an injunction, or pay an excessive rate. Court documents say that Apple asked Samsung half a dozen times (!) to quote a FRAND rate before the 2.4% demand, which the court considered outrageous, was made… Considering the parameters and circumstances I just described, Samsung will be lucky to even recover its attorneys’ fees with this. The dispute will continue.

In other Apple court news, bankrupt Kodak is suing the company this week for wrongly claiming ownership of 10 patents and “interfering with plans to sell a large patent portfolio.” Reuters explained:

In a lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak said Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, wrongly claims to own 10 patents arising from work that the companies did together in the early 1990s… Kodak said Apple is the largest infringer of patents in that portfolio, and also a potential purchaser of those patents… “Apple’s strategy has been to use its substantial cash position to delay as long as possible the payment of royalties to Kodak” and interfere with the sale, Kodak said.

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