Apple Inserts Foot in Mouth, is Blasted for Complaining About U.S. Victory
April 4, 2012 3:30 PM
(Source: badjonni via flickr)
Apparently #winning is not enough -- complaints could come back to bite Apple, provide ammo for Android rivals
Apple, Inc. (
) 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. (
(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
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
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
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
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'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
had admittedly threatened
both Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) 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. (
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.
of the lawsuit wars.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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