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November 7, 2012

Judge Dismisses Apple Lawsuit Against Motorola Mobility

Apple’s patent lawsuit against Google-owned Motorola Mobility was dismissed Nov. 5, just hours before the trial was scheduled to commence.

The rivals were to duke it out in Wisconsin federal court over what Apple claimed were unfair licensing practices.

In a lawsuit filed in 2011, Apple claimed Motorola was seeking a license fee of 2.25 percent of the price of devices that infringe on Motorola’s patents, including the iPhone and iPod Touch. Motorola standards obligate the company to offer licenses at “reasonable” rates.

District Judge Barbara Crabb had previously said she might rule on a fair royalty for Motorola’s patents, Reuters reported. Apple, however, insisted it would not accept Crabb’s rate if it topped $1 per Apple phone.

Apple’s assertions then caused Crabb last week to question if she had the authority to deliver only an advisory opinion, the report said. She then opted to dismiss the case with prejudice Nov. 5.

Crabb’s decision is a blow to Apple in its patent wars against Google’s Android system.

In a bid to convince the judge to reconsider, the company filed a legal brief following her ruling, arguing she does have the authority to hear Apple’s case, Reuters report indicated.

A Google spokeswoman contacted by Reuters said the company was happy with the order. Apple representatives declined to comment, however.

Apple and Google have been in an ongoing patent power-struggle.

Google holding Motorola Mobility recently dropped its complaint of patent violation against rival Apple without explanation.

According to Reuters, in a brief filing with the International Trade Commission on Oct. 1, Motorola Mobility said it “was dropping without prejudice a complaint that Apple had infringed on seven Motorola patents.”

The two firms were in settlement talks in August. Google said in its filing, however, that “there are no agreements between Motorola and Apple, written or oral, express or implied, concerning the subject matter of this investigation,” Reuters reported.

The complaint can be re-submitted.