U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner canceled a damage trial between Apple and Motorola Mobility (MMI) on Thursday, just four days before it was supposed to begin. The judge dismissed the jury for the case, but the court battle isn’t necessarily over as the judge himself could still still issue an injunction against either or both companies in the event he finds patent infringement.
According to Bloomberg, Judge Posner told the companies that they have to prove injury, and was apparently unsatisfied that either company had sustained injury. Accordingly, the jury was portion of the trial was canceled.
As noted by Florian Mueller at FOSS Patents, “Damages are a remedy at law, while injunctive relief is an equitable remedy. Equitable remedies are decided by judges, not juries.”
Earlier this week, Judge Posner has already thrown his legal weight around by tossing out a third patent in Moto’s infringement claims, leaving MMI just one of the four patents it was trying to assert. He had also tossed out 11 patents that Apple was trying to assert, leaving Apple with four patents still in play.
He has also warned Apple not to make the court battle into a popularity contest—which is moot now that the jury is gone, and criticized both companies about “frivolous” and “ridiculous.” Philip Elmer-Dewitt noted that he is generally known for running a no-nonsense court and cutting through lawyerese with abandon.
The judge could enter his ruling on the injunctive relief requests as early as later today.