Judge Sides With Apple In Motorola FRAND Case

Posted Aug 14, 2012

It is hard to keep track of all of the lawsuits that Apple is involved in.  They are dealing with a patent lawsuit with Samsung and several other companies including Motorola.  Apple has won a case in Wisconsin against Motorola Mobility over fair patent licensing terms.  Apple filed a lawsuit against Motorola Mobility in March 2011 after Motorola demanded 2.25% of net sales on all iOS products that use essential industry standard patents.

Companies that have patents that are considered industry essential are expected to offer them to companies under licensing terms that are fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND).

Apple is accusing Motorola of seeking excessive royalty payments for the patents that cover video streaming and WiFi technology.  This past Friday U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb for the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that Motorola’s patents were FRAND.  Motorola was obligated to license them on FRAND terms under contractual obligations with the ETSI and IEEE.

Apple is a third-party beneficiary of the obligations.  These findings are similar to the ruling made by U.S. District Judge James Robart’s rulings in February regarding the same patent dispute between Microsoft and Motorola.  Crabb granted a pair of Motorola Mobility motions including a partial summary judgement of Apple’s antitrust concerns since Apple could not prove any actual damages.

Crabb dismissed Apple’s claim that Motorola had interfered with the Qualcomm relationship since they could not prove actual harm.  Before Google closed their acquisition of Motorola Mobility in May, the company promised it would license Motorola’s patents.  The Apple and Motorola case is scheduled to go on trial November 5th.