Apple, Motorola Mobility Spar in Court Over Phone Patents
An Apple Inc. (AAPL) attorney urged a judge to order Motorola Mobility to redesign elements of its smartphones because they may infringe patents owned by the iPhone maker.
The lawyer, Matthew Powers, told U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner in Chicago today that his client isn’t interested in royalty payments as remedy for infringement by Motorola, a unit of Google Inc. (GOOG) Nor is Apple trying to block the sales of the Motorola Mobility phones, he said.
“We’re not saying, ‘Block all sales,’” Powers said. “We’re saying, ‘Don’t infringe.’”
He proposed that Posner issue an order compelling Motorola Mobility to stop infringing by a specific date.
Apple’s iPhones are the world’s most popular line of mobile phones, and Google’s Android operating system is the world’s most-used smartphone platform, according to statistics compiled by Framingham, Massachusetts-based International Data Corp.
Posner on June 7 canceled what would have been the first trial between the companies since Mountain View, California- based Google completed its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility last month. The judge rejected monetary-damage theories proposed by both sides.
Apple was expected to argue at the trial that Motorola Mobility products infringed four of its patents. Motorola would have pressed its claim on one cellular technology patent.
Posner instead issued an order saying he’d hear arguments today on whether either smartphone maker was entitled to an order blocking the other from future infringement.
He heard nearly two hours of argument today without issuing a decision.
Motorola’s patent is regarded as standard and essential to the industry, its attorney David A. Nelson said, telling the court any royalties his client receives should be calibrated according to the patent’s place in the company’s industry- standard portfolio.
One Motorola expert estimated damages from Apple’s alleged infringement at $298 million, Posner said.
Powers countered that the Motorola technology, while patented, is seldom used in practice and accused the company of “an attempt to derive a benefit from the patent in excess of its value, which is zero.”
The judge asked Apple’s lawyer why his client prefers time- limited injunctions for its infringement claims instead of royalties, saying if Motorola complies, Apple receives nothing.
“We get our patent respected,” said Powers, and the potential that Motorola’s re-engineering would result in an inferior product.
A Motorola attorney, Stephen A. Swedlow, countered that if a monetary remedy would make Apple whole, then it’s not entitled to the “extraordinary relief” of an injunction.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Motorola Inc., 1:11-cv-08540, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).
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