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  (Source: badjonni via flickr)
Apparently #winning is not enough -- complaints could come back to bite Apple, provide ammo for Android rivals

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) supporters hailed Chicago, Illinois Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals  Judge Richard Posner's ruling as a landmark in the gadgetmaker's case against new Google Inc. (GOOG) almost-subsidiary (pending Chinese approval) and top Android phonemaker, Motorola Mobility.  

Not only did uphold most of Apple's claim construction regarding Apple's asserted intellectual property rights, U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 -- the infamous "multi-touch patent" -- it also admonished Motorola's counterarguments.  Supporters said that the strong victory could clear the way for something even they weren't sure if they were comfortable with -- a complete ban of America's current top smartphone platform, Android.

So how did Apple respond to this wonderful legal gift that Judge Posner handed it?

Apparently "complained" would be the proper term.  Astoundingly Apple filed a motion challenging some aspects of the Judge's Claim Construction, which it felt might weaken its "thermonuclear" quest to destroy all of the top Android phonemakers' sales.

But much like Napoleon's bold invasion of Moscow, followed by a ruinous retreat, Apple may have made a fatal miscalculation in angering Judge Posner who once appeared to be on its side.  Judge Posner called Apple's filing "troubling" and writes [PDF]:

Apple presumably spent a nontrivial amount of time drafting its order, and now I have done the same in responding to it. Yet it seems that Apple brought about this expenditure of scarce resources without first making a careful reading of the page or so of my order against which this motion is launched. Such inconsiderate sloppiness is unprofessional and unacceptable.

Judge Posner
Judge Posner's tone with Apple shifted dramatically. [Image Source: Appellate Lawyers Assoc.]

Given Judge Posner's strong reputation in U.S. Federal legal circles, his criticism of Apple's legal staff as "unprofessional" is very "troubling" for the Cupertino gadgetmaker, to borrow his term.  That criticism goes well beyond his harshest words to Motorola's lawyers to date.

Again, it's somewhat baffling why Apple would turn around and burn itself on the eve of its greatest triumph in U.S. Federal Court.  However, some grateful Motorola lawyers are surely thanking the heavens for this inexplicable turn of events.

An important note is that Motorola started the lawsuits with an Oct. 2010 filing against Apple claiming infringement of 18 patents.  However, given that Apple had just filed a lawsuit against HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and had admittedly threatened both Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) and Motorola with litigation, it appears this may have been a "preemptive strike".  Sure enough, Apple sued Motorola later that month.  So far Apple has done better in the U.S., though Motorola did get several key patents invalidated.

A non-biased observer could argue that Apple started the lawsuit war with Android, but Samsung and Motorola escalated it with new suits, and a host of international filings.  Likewise, such an observer might point out that a piece of the culpability lies with Windows Phone maker Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) who kicked off the lawsuit wars in 2009, suing Apple over 10 patents and filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to ban iPhone imports from their manufacturing location in China.  That ban request was the first of its kind and would be echoed in later ITC filings by Apple and its Android rivals.  Wikipedia maintains an excellent timeline of the lawsuit wars.

Source: SBNation



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RE: Apple will be Apple
By Cobra Commander on 4/4/2012 4:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, that's the litigious American society we all know and love so dearly!


RE: Apple will be Apple
By GotThumbs on 4/4/2012 5:39:00 PM , Rating: 5
I'm wondering why...Apple has not yet been sued over its extreme closed market access? No access to any music, video content without having to install their software...and no ability to sell in their market...without jumping through their hoops.

I want them to be taken to court for this....SOOOOOOOOO BAAAAAAAAAAD.


RE: Apple will be Apple
By RicheemxX on 4/4/2012 6:01:17 PM , Rating: 5
I've asked this for years and the only response I've ever gotten from Apple supports it to proclaim there is fair access elsewhere. Clearly there is something lost in the term "market". As I've always asserted Apple is a market on its own. How, or why, it has been allowed to place the sanctions it has on its own market is beyond me. If this was a reversal and it was MS back in the day consorting with suppliers and creating such a closed eco-system we would have seen all sorts of anti-trust concerns raised.


RE: Apple will be Apple
By Azethoth on 4/5/12, Rating: -1
RE: Apple will be Apple
By Invane on 4/5/2012 12:23:12 PM , Rating: 3
Did you seriously just accuse him of only wanting to see Apple's market system more open so he can pirate their IP?

Why do people immediately descend to personal attacks like this when someone does not share their viewpoint.

I agree with him and intensely dislike Apple's "walled garden" approach to their products. It stifles competition, much like their legal campaign against Android.

And why are you the one that gets to determine 'reasonable prices'? Perhaps some people do not agree that their prices are reasonable. I, for one, don't care as I don't purchase Apple products on principle. Some people will care and their opinions and views should not be discarded with derisive comments lacking any facts or constructive debate like yours.


RE: Apple will be Apple
By Theoz on 4/4/2012 5:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt any party can get a permanent injunction, so we're looking at years of litigation where each party is forced to pay a reasonable royalty (or potentially lost profits) for the other parties' inventions. All of this litigation could likely be obviated by a cross-licensing agreement up front.


RE: Apple will be Apple
By ilkhan on 4/5/2012 12:45:06 AM , Rating: 5
Apple doesn't want a cross license agreement, they want android dead.

This has been established time and time again.


“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs














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