Just days before one of Apple’s patent disputes with Google-owned Motorola Mobility was set for trial in Chicago, an exasperated judge issued a temporary order dismissing the case with prejudice (meaning it can’t be re-filed).
Reports came in early yesterday afternoon that the start of the trial had been cancelled, but it wasn’t until much later in the day that it became known why. The presiding judge, Judge Richard Posner, has been growing increasingly frustrated with the maneuvering of the two parties in the case. In yesterday’s ruling, he declares that neither party is able to prove that the alleged infringement of the other has caused them significant harm, and that even if they could, each party’s request for injunctive relief is disproportionate to the amount of damage caused. In other words, neither Apple nor Motorola can prove that the other’s alleged patent infringement is actually causing them any harm.
Judge Posner called his decision tentative, and said that “I will delay entry of judgment until I have prepared a full opinion.” The delay leaves open the possibility that he will change his mind, which would mean that the trial would proceed.
Apple has not released any official response to the ruling, but in a statement to The Verge, Motorola declared its satisfaction with the judge’s decision. The full (but very brief) order is embedded below: