Judge: Apple, Google using courts as "business strategy" to "mop up mess"

By on April 11, 2013, 5:00 PM

Displeased with a lengthy, ongoing patent dispute between Apple and Motorola Mobility (i.e. Google), a Florida-based federal judge has accused both companies of misusing the court system as just another business strategy. Bloomberg published the original scoop yesterday. 

Google now owns Motorola Mobility, but the search giant says the mobile property operates independently of both itself and Motorola.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola lambasted the companies for their "obstreperous" and "cantankerous" conduct. He also expressed his belief that they "have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end."

Scola continued, "That is not a proper use of this court. Without a hint of irony, the parties now ask the court to mop up a mess they made by holding a hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case. The court declines this invitation."

Although unusually harsh, Scola's words may be well-deserved. The three-year old case is based on just 12 patents but makes more than 180 claims over the definitions for more than 100 patent terms.

Apple's Miami-based battle against "Googarola" was originally begat by Motorola over six patents. However, the lawsuit has continued to grow since it was filed in 2010, prompting Scola to warn both parties that he'll temporarily freeze the case if they cannot reduce the scope of their mounting complaints.

The companies have been given four months to streamline their accusations or face having the case put on hold until the court can resolve existing terms. FOSS Patents believes this delay will ultimately hurt Motorola Mobility more than it will Apple.

Rolled up in the lawsuit are patents involving wireless communication, push notifications, Apple's iCloud and iPhone 4S. Both Apple and Motorola have scored a number of apparent minor victories along the way, but a clear winner has yet to emerge.

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