Apple Moves to Stay Motorola Lawsuits During Google Acquisition

| News

Apple has filed a motion to temporarily pause two of its lawsuits with Motorola Mobility until Google finishes its purchase of the communication company. The Mac and iPhone maker filed the motion because Google’s purchase will limit Motorola Mobility’s rights to enforce its patents.

Apple wants to stall Motorola lawsuitsApple moves to stay patent lawsuits with Motorola

The agreement Google and Motorola have as part of the merger, according to Foss Patents, limits Motorola Mobility’s ability to defend its patents. Because of those restrictions Motorola Mobility doesn’t have the right to sue, argue Apple’s lawyers.

“Apple should not have to face the threat of an injunction based on the claims of a party that now has no standing to bring those claims,” Apple’s legal team said in its filing. “Apple will be expending enormous resources litigating claims against a party that does not have standing.”

Apple and Motorola Mobility are facing off in Florida and Wisconsin courts in lawsuits where they are accusing each other of patent infringement.

Apple’s legal team added,

To further its pending acquisition by Google, Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action. According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit.

In other words, by giving up its right to defend its patents as part of the merger deal, Motorola Mobility loses the right to sue Apple for patent infringement.

With Apple’s motion filed, the Court must now decide if the cases should be put on hold until Google finishes its Motorola Mobility purchase.



O.o Yeah…. sure it does.


So now, Google - not Motorola - must sue Apple over those Motorola patents. (&/- vice-versa.)

At last, the two are directly joined in their combat.  (Not just war by proxy, anymore.)


The problem here, as Apple argues in its briefing, is that neither Google or Motorola Mobility (Moto) may have standing to sue, while Google’s acquisition of Moto is pending.  Moto appears not to have standing, because the merger agreement both impairs Moto’s rights to license its patents, enter into settlements, and/or enter covenants not to sue.  And Google’s lacks standing, because, until the deal to purchase Moto closes, if it closes, Google does not own Moto’s patents and cannot, therefore, as a matter of law exploit Moto’s patents in any way.  So neither Google or Moto have standing, according to Apple’s arguments.

A principal problem here for Moto and Google, though Google is not a party to the case, is that, in another case, Google used essentially the same arguments to seek dismissal of patent case, where the named plaintiff only had legal title to the patents but had transferred all substantial rights in the patents to the non-practicing entity (NEP) that owned them, so that the NEP controlled the litigation strategy and settlement.  Apple is now shoving Google’s own arguments down its throat.

I am leaning toward the view that Apple’s arguments to stay the two federal court cases for lack of standing are well taken.  But we have to see what Moto argues in opposition, if Moto opposes Apple’s motions. 

Apparently, prior to Apple filing its motions, Moto’s lawyers were considering whether to consent to Apple’s motions and wanted several more days to consider the matter, but Apple gave Moto’s lawyers a deadline for consenting, and, when that deadline passed, Apple filed its respective motions to stay.  Will Moto oppose Apple’s motions to stay?  Time will tell.

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