It seems that the latest chapter in the Apple patent wars is closing without a trial. The case was supposed to begin today in order to decide on a claim by Apple that Motorola Mobility was charging unfair prices for the licensing rights on its industry-standard patents. Apparently, the federal judge assigned to the case has now thrown it out altogether.
Not only was the case thrown out, it was dismissed with prejudice. Basically this means that the case is over at the trial court level but can still be appealed. According to a statement issued by Google, they were very pleased that the lawsuit was thrown out. Motorola further asserts that their prices were fair and that they remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple to make use of the industry standard patents.
You might be wondering why the federal judge threw this case out. While there were likely several factors, the official court minutes from earlier today don't tell us much:
“hearing; court finds that case can not proceed to trial on remaining issue; case dismissed with prejudice.”
It is known that Apple had asked the court to set a fair rate for the patents but had already stated that they would only commit to the rate if it was at $1 per iPhone or less. Judge Crabb probably didn't care for the notion that Apple was asking for a rate to be set but dictating how much they felt it should be. While that's it for the case right now, expect an appeal.