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Judge Suggests Apple, Motorola Should Play Nice 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-litigation-to-yourself dept.
sl4shd0rk writes "Federal Judge Richard Posner seems to be a man who gets the screwed up patent system in the U.S. As Apple pressed for more injunctions against Motorola regarding alleged patent infringement, Judge Posner has stressed the two companies should just 'get along' and pay each other royalties. A jury trial set to start last week was cancelled when Posner ruled that neither side could prove damages, and grilled Apple's legal team saying an injunction against Motorola would be 'contrary to the public interest.' Furthermore, as Apple tried to plead its injunction case concerning four patents, Posner called the U.S. patent system 'chaos' and said an order barring the sale of Motorola phones could have 'catastrophic effects.'"
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Judge Suggests Apple, Motorola Should Play Nice

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  • Finally (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vskye (9079) on Friday June 22, 2012 @03:08AM (#40408593)

    A judge that gets it. A refreshing change for once.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Omnifarious (11933) *

      He's the judge that really adroitly handled the Microsoft antitrust trial, then flubbed it by speaking to the press about the trial before it was over. That gave Microsoft the grounds for an appeal (and subsequent 'slap on the wrist' punishment) based on him 'not being impartial'. Which was bunk, but his mistake gave the appearance, and that was enough.

      But, overall, I've seen his name come up a few times, and I've been generally pretty pleased with how he's handled cases.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        All his mistake did was give the elite the excuse they needed to stomp on the common sense the judge displayed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Wrong judge. That was not Posner.

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Informative)

        by haploc (57693) on Friday June 22, 2012 @07:24AM (#40409631) Homepage

        He's the judge that really adroitly handled the Microsoft antitrust trial, then flubbed it by speaking to the press about the trial before it was over. That gave Microsoft the grounds for an appeal (and subsequent 'slap on the wrist' punishment) based on him 'not being impartial'. Which was bunk, but his mistake gave the appearance, and that was enough.

        That judge was Thomas Penfield Jackson.

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 22, 2012 @07:53AM (#40409769)

        Posner is probably the most famous judge alive that's not in the SCOTUS. His words may even be mroe influential than some Supreme Court judges. His decisions are in practically every law case book that every law school student will read in every subject imaginable.

        Also, as pointed out above, he wasn't the judge that handled the Microsoft antitrust case.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Judge does not get it.
      Catastrophic effects are good. That will lead to changes in the patent systems which will benefit everyone.
      Not changing the patent system and expecting large companies to "play nice" will only result in an oligopoly. The large companies will still sue the small ones into oblivion.

    • I believe the mistake Apple made, and Oracle as well, is to not change the jurisdiction to the East Texas District. That place has insane patent law.
    • Gets it?

      That's why all these big companies have suites of thousands of patents -- so they can force a capitulation to mutual sharing agreements. The judge is just trying to hurry this process.

      He gets it, but not in the way the OP thinks.

    • It's not really a judge's job to make a statement about law he (or we) doesn't agree with. His job is to rule on the law AS IT EXISTS. Frankly I tire of the arguments (for and against) about US copyright. The laws are written. If you don't like them, get them changed. A judge is not the way to change the law.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:08AM (#40408855)

    I agree with the judge. Apple should get a reasonable, and non-predatory royalty for any alledgedly used patents, not an injunction barring anybody else from making phones that aren't tincans on wires.

    But that would be contrary to the memory of dr evi..I mean, Steve Jobs, who famously said he would [expletive] destroy android.

    Apple doesn't want a royalty. They want dominance. I hope the judge hands them their balls on a plate instead.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)

      Apple doesn't want a royalty. They want dominance. I hope the judge hands them their balls on a plate instead.

      And Motorola? A company that is abusing FRAND patents? Nothing? No comment on what they're doing?

      Of course not. This is Slashdot - everything Apple is evil and if anybody attempts to screw them over, even if it's utilizing anti-competitive tactics, it's ok because fuck Apple, right?

      Yeah.

      Hand-in-the-sand anti-Apple fanboyism is just as annoying as blindly loyal pro-Apple fanboyism.

      • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Friday June 22, 2012 @08:52AM (#40410133) Homepage
        I think you'll find that started after Apple began attempting to destroy all other companies. Motorola, being a company that invents important technologies, has its patents largely in pools licensed to others. I don't think anyone ever anticipated anything like what Jobs started, if they had, the terms around FRAND patents would likely look different.
        • I think you'll find that started after...

          You know what? It doesn't matter when it started. Apple is under no obligation to license their non-FRAND patents, should they choose not to. Motorola, however, is. Motorola submitted their technologies to the industry standard and agreed to license those patents under FRAND terms. They currently are not. It doesn't matter who started it or that Apple isn't licensing their patents or anything else for that matter. FRAND terms are clear - you license your patent to EVERYONE and ANYONE who wants to license it

      • by oxdas (2447598)

        Motorola offered Apple the same deal it offers everyone: cross-license and pay a low rate. Apple refused because they believed Motorola was undervaluing their patents in the cross-licensing offer. Since Apple rejected the normal patent licensing terms, Motorola wants more money to compensate them for the fact that Apple won't be cross-licensing like everyone else (Apple is already paying above FRAND rates to Nokia for exactly the same reasons). Perhaps the numbers Motorola is asking for are high, but "ab

    • Apple should get a reasonable, and non-predatory royalty for any alledgedly used patents, not an injunction barring anybody else from making phones that aren't tincans on wires.

      I'm curious how far you're willing to take your idea. Imagine you invented something original that made everything else on the market look like "tincans on wires", you patented it, and your company was starting to disrupt the market thanks entirely to the competitive advantage offered by your innovation. You're setting your company up for long-term success, when one of your larger competitors, fearful that they'll be pushed out, copies your idea, deploys it on all their devices, destroys your competitive ad

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Friday June 22, 2012 @04:13AM (#40408877)

    Wow, judge who actually gives a **** about theoretical intent of the law? Must be something wrong happened. We branched off from main timeline, yes?

    Seriously, so much common sense that it is overhelming.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brokeninside (34168)

      That's an ironic comment on Posner who champions judicial pragmatism which, so far as I can tell, is what used to be called legal realism back in the days of Oliver Wendell Holmes. The chief tenet of this judicial philosophy is that law is nothing more than a prediction of how judges will rule and the state will enforce the laws. The theoretical content is minimal. Everything is reduced that which actually happens.

      In this view, any `intent' by the framers of a law is only as relevant as the police and judge

      • by Moldiver (1343577)

        Case-law is simply a totally broken system that gives judges to much power without any control over them.But it is fitting to the "democratic" 2 party-system the us has - both are insane.

        • The legal system in the US is set up with all sorts of controls over runaway judges going right up to Supreme Court justices who can be impeached and removed from office by congress. In some states judges are elected. In other states judges are appointed. I am not aware of any state that does not have some mechanism to remove judges that turn out to be whack-jobs. So the system has checks and balances on the individuals serving as judges.

          Moreover, while it is true that any given judge has unlimited power to

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:20AM (#40409143) Homepage

    an injunction against Motorola would be 'contrary to the public interest.'

    Contrary to the what now?

    Is that like corporate interest, but only for publically traded corporations?
    Perhaps it's some archaic concept from a long lost civilization?
    I don't think "public interest" really exists in our modern times.

    • I think it means it would be contrary to the interests of consumers. Less choice, less competition -- while you can argue the merits of these, they are what the free market economy is, in theory, based on. Calling it 'public interest' to uphold that isn't really much of a stretch.

  • by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Friday June 22, 2012 @05:23AM (#40409157)
    ...e subito dopo la legge.

    To all conspiracy theorists, that was a quote from a song of some Italian dude on a judicial system. The full translated verse is "Listen, once a a judge like me judged the one who had dictated the Law. First they changed the judge and immediately after they changed the law."

    Very 70s, very dark and in some instances very true. I for one remain curious to see if the savant will be sacrificed.
  • Oh hell, if we can just tell everyone to "get along" instead of actually having trials, I'm becoming a fucking judge!

    Regardless of how stupid a patent case is, it's the current law and deserves a trial. Period.

    You wanna change the patent system? then fucking help change it. Don't ignore your responsibilities.

  • They get paid billable hours for litigating. They get paid less for "getting along" with opposing legal teams. Going to war is more profitable for the legal teams of both sides. At least an army general may be reluctant to go to war, because he cares about the loss of life and morale of his soldiers. Lawyers don't suffer when they lose a case. They get paid more billable hours for an appeal.

    "Contrary to the public interest" is not even a concern here. How do we change this? Well, maybe we need Congress to reform some laws . . . ?

    . . . Oh, but what are their occupations, outside of Congress . . . they are all lawyers . . . ?

    . . . Ok, I think I understand how the system works now . . .

  • by GodInHell (258915) on Friday June 22, 2012 @08:29AM (#40409965) Homepage
    This story really needs to mention that posner is actually an appellate judge sitting on the trial bench because we have too many open seats on the federal bench. Appellate judges are being forced to do double duty. Posner, as an appellate judge, is accustomed to commenting on and changing our interpretation of law. Dangerous man to pull for a trial judge.
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      Which means, if Apple's smart, they'll not try to appeal and back down. Posner's basically setting the stage for ending this before it ever gets to appeals.

      • by GodInHell (258915)
        He's just one of several Appellate judges in the Seventh Circuit, and certainly not the only important voice on that bench. If the case gets appealed he would probably recuse himself as well (even assuming he was one of the three judges picked to hear that particular case). He is infamously sharp-tounged though. Google "Lawyer Ostrich" for an example.
  • I want them to battle it out, but not in court.
    I want them both to go and try to make the very best phone they possibly can and fight for each and every consumer's pocket.
    Oh, but that would require more money and effort than just throwing lawyers around, wouldn't it?
  • I'd be tempted to create a Judge Hall of Fame for judges that just plain "get it." For ones who have an understanding of the philosophy and content of the fields upon which they are judging. And produce decisions based upon sound reason.

    Judge Posner.

    Judge John Jones (Dover: Intelligent Design, everyone should read this [uscourts.gov] at least once a year.

    Comments requested: who else should be on this list?

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