Richard Posner, a US circuit judge scrapped a patent lawsuit between Apple and Motorola Mobility, which is currently owned by Google. The lawsuit which was scheduled to start this week, was scrapped after the judge decided on not hearing the arguments for damages as neither side were unable to prove how they were harmed.
This move has been welcomed as an ounce of practicality in a technological industry that is being spammed by meaningless patent lawsuits, which have the sole purpose of sabotaging a company’s gains. Patent lawsuits have often been used as tools to distract competitors or even ban certain products from the market.
Strategic and Monetary gains have often been cited as reasons for filing a patent lawsuit, apart from the company, almost everyone ends up losing. A lot of public resources are wasted in the run up to such a lawsuit. There is also the existent risk of losing access to new technology as seen in case of HTC One X being blocked on AT&T recently. Apple is hoping to obtain a similar ban on the Galaxy S III. Companies have strayed from simply constructing new technology into the path of unnecessary litigation.
This new decision taken by a judge is certainly refreshing. It will help in streamlining these lawsuits and in a way helps in sorting out differences between the two sides. In fact Judge Posner was influential in making the Motorola-Apple case, more manageable. Judge Posner had requested both parties to sort the case on their own. On failing to do so, he used his authority to put a stop to a meaningless lawsuit.
In fact, he is not the only Judge to have taken such a stand. Judge Andreas Voss from Germany has thrown two lawsuits between Apple and Samsung. Samsung retaliated by stating that they would appeal in a higher court. In another incident in the US, Judge Lucy Koh asked both parties to sort out their differences through a face to face deal. This lead to the drop of several patent complaints, that the companies had planned to use against each other. Strategically speaking, companies want to gain maximum advantage in every part of the world and thus aren’t reluctant in filing a patent lawsuit. Although Posner’s decision only scraps the trial, lawyers will continue search for other areas in a rival’s product in order to earn an injunction against marketing the same. So a little aggressiveness, time and again is necessary.