The Apple vs Android war is far from over – in fact we have updates on the various legal conflicts between Apple and the main Android device makers on a regular basis – but today we hear that Motorola/Google has decided to withdraw its second complaint against Apple that was recently filed with the International Trade Commission.
FOSS Patents reports that Motorola filed the paperwork yesterday, but made it clear that there’s no settlement between the two parties, as the ITC has strict rules, requiring such settlements to be fully disclosed:
UNOPPOSED MOTION TO TERMINATE OF COMPLAINANTS MOTOROLA MOBILITY LLC, MOTOROLA MOBILITY IRELAND AND MOTOROLA MOBILITY INTERNATIONAL
Under 19 C.F.R. § 210.21(a), Complainants Motorola Mobility LLC, Motorola Mobility Ireland, and Motorola Mobility International Limited (collectively, ‘Motorola’) hereby move to terminate all claims in this investigation without prejudice based on Motorola’s withdrawal of the complaint, with Motorola and Apple each bearing their own costs and attorneys’ fees. There are no agreements between Motorola and Apple, written or oral, express or implied, concerning the subject matter of this investigation. Respondent Apple Inc. and the Office of Unfair Import Investigations Staff Attorney have confirmed that they do not oppose this motion.
Moreover, the publication reveals that in case of settlements, the cases get dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the parties can’t file the exact same complaints again. In this case however, Motorola could decide to refile its second claim against Apple at a latter date.
So why did Motorola/Google decide to abandon this fight only about a month after filing it? FOSS Patents presents several reasons that may have led to this unexpected decision. Maybe the fact that Judge Theodore Essex was appointed to the case, a judge who “doesn’t make things easy for complainants” and who was also in charge of a Microsoft ITC claim against Motorola, determined Motorola to back down. Or maybe it was the fact that Motorola needed more time to regroup and make sure it has all the proper documentation in order for the case:
Maybe Motorola realized that it proceeded too hastily with its initial complaint and that this could be outcome-determinative in Apple’s favor, especially with a very strict judge such as Mr. Essex. Maybe Motorola will refile its complaint once it has obtained all of the document. There could also be problems with the legal process involving some of the patents, so if Motorola reasserts some of these patents, it may actually decide not to pursue its claims concerning some others.
Or maybe, although highly unlikely, this could be “a unilateral goodwill gesture on Google’s part toward Apple if high-level settlement talks are progressing well.”
It’s worth noting that Motorola asserted seven non-standard-essential patents against Apple in this second ITC complaint, and that the investigation would have lasted well over a year, with ITC announcing only two weeks ago that it would formally investigate it.
As for the other ITC complaint filed by Motorola against the iPhone maker, the Commission dismissed three of the four patents in play and remanded the remaining one to a judge. A final ruling in that case will be made public only next April, once the investigation is complete. Comparatively, the second ITC complaint would have been solved in 2014.
Naturally, we’ll be back with more updates on Motorola’s legal actions against Apple once we find out more details about the matter.