In the Apple vs Motorola patent suit taking place in Chicago, Motorola has scored an important victory, gaining a summary judgment motion on a touchscreen patent in dispute. In addition, presiding Judge Richard A. Posner has narrowed Apple's claims of infringement by rejecting several other claims which he believes have no merit.
An undoubted setback for Apple, the outcome of this suit may well strengthen Motorola’s position in other litigation in the US and Europe.
Judge Posner has also given Apple’s legal beagles a sharp rebuke over what he sees as their meritless ploys to limit Motorola’s options in the Apple vs Motorola patent suit to be tried before him in June.
Apparently, (according to FOSSPatents’ Florient Mueller,) Apple moved to prevent Motorola deposing a certain expert, something that the judge had denied in relation to that same expert a few days previously. Apple this time claimed that health issues suffered by the expert’s spouse cast doubt on his ability to testify at trial.
However, Judge Posner responded with "Apple is now attempting to use the medical problem of [the expert]'s wife to block [his] deposition." His response to the Apple legal team confirms that he not only believes the motion to be just a pretext, but also that Apple made this second attempt just three days following a similar motion the judge had already denied.
In addition, he criticizes Apple’s legals for not bringing the motion within a time frame which would have enabled Motorola to respond, a course of action the judge believes Apple took to deliberately deprive Motorola of such a response.
In the Judge’s own words, "I deny the second half of Apple’s motion as frivolous and the first half as untimely. I've had my fill of frivolous filings by Apple. The next such motion, and I shall forbid it to file any motions without first moving for leave to file."
So it appears that Apple took a risk and it has backfired on the iGadget maker, because the judge’s threatened ruling will only apply to Apple, while Motorola’s legal team will not be constrained by having to get prior permission from the court.
This is not the first time that Apple has been censured in such a manner, with Judge GM Sleet criticizing Apple for making a disingenuous argument, a warning to everyone "to refrain from extending their advocacy to arguments that, as was the case here, appear less than forthright".
Which means apparently, as Judge Judy might say, “Don’t pee in my pocket and tell me it’s raining.”