Apple receives nastygram from judge in Motorola lawsuit

Apple receives nastygram from judge in Motorola lawsuit
While the mobile patent wars rage across Europe and Australia, we have been quietly inching closer to a titanic battle that will take place in U.S. court this summer between Apple and Motorola, who will engage in back-to-back patent lawsuits in Chicago. Those cases will both be presided over by highly regarded Judge Richard Posner. The pretrial phase is usually not all that eventful – both sides work with the judge on claim construction, the process of defining exactly what each patent does and does not cover.

“Usually” does not mean “always” though, and Apple seems to have committed a serious gaffe that drew the ire of Judge Posner. Despite a claim construction phase that has largely sided with Apple, the lawyers from Cupertino decided to file a motion for reconsideration, raising three issues they wanted the judge to reconsider.

Judge Posner released a three page decision rejecting Apple’s motion, laying into them in a way not often seen in IP lawsuits. The judge refers to Apple’s motion as “troubling”, chiding them for wasting the court’s time. He goes on to explain that Apple seems to have completely misunderstood the claim construction ruling they questioned, as they actually quote Motorola’s brief rather than Posner’s ruling. And when they did quote Posner, it was from an entirely different claim construction.

The final argument attempted to introduce an entirely new claim, which was rejected out of hand, since you cannot introduce new claims this late in the lawsuit (and never in a motion for reconsideration). Coupling this apparent disregard for the rules with the other two claims that simply misstated Judge Posner ruling irritated him enough to write:

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.

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Obviously this won’t determine the final outcome of the Apple v Motorola lawsuits, but it’s never a good idea to piss off the presiding judge before you can even get your case in front of a jury. Whatever Apple’s lawyers hoped to accomplish with their motion clearly backfired, and they might want to tread a bit more carefully in the coming weeks.

source: Judge Posner's order via The Verge

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