Wisconsin US District Court Judge Barbara Crabb has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit against Motorola with prejudice. A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment following the dismissal but they are seeking to have the dismissal made without prejudice. That would allow the case to be heard again at a later date.
Apple filed suit against Motorola in March 2011 alleging the now Google-owned company was charging an unreasonably high fee to license standards-essential patents. Motorola owns patents that are necessary for cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in mobile phones and are required to license them to competitors as part of the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms (FRAND).
They reportedly demanded that Apple pay them 2.25 percent of the price of each iPhone as a licensing fee to use the patents. Apple, in turn, says this fee is too high and they aren’t alone in that belief. Microsoft and Motorola are scheduled to head to federal court next week in Seattle over a similar dispute. That case specifically deals with licensing fees for wireless and video patents.
The Federal Trade Commission is also weighing in on the situation in general and it could get ugly for some. Specifically, staffers at the FTC have suggested that the government should file an antitrust lawsuit against Google. A decision to file would ultimately be up to the FTC commissioners. As we understand it, a decision isn’t expected either way until after today’s presidential election.
It’s still unclear exactly what is considered a fair rate for standards-essential patent licenses and by the looks of today’s outcome, that may not be defined for some time.