Apple vs. Motorola back in court as judge revives patent spat

The patent spat between Apple and Motorola Mobility is headed back to the US courthouse, with each company expected to fight its infringement corner on June 20. Justice Richard A. Posner confirmed the hearing date, despite earlier suggestions that the case would be dismissed altogether as neither Apple nor Motorola Mobility had sufficiently established a right to relief.

Although the judge left himself room to change decision, the preliminary decision had led to expectations that neither company would have the chance to argue its corner. In a single page order, however, Justice Posner warned that "the parties should be prepared to address the possibility of substitution for an injunction of an equitable decree for a reasonable royalty going forward."

If Motorola wants to continue arguing for injunctive relief, claiming Apple infringes on its patented technologies, the company will have to be prepared for some tough questions on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing, Posner wrote. Apple has accused its rival of demanding outlandish sums in return for using the technology.

Posner appears to be suggesting that he could enforce fairer licensing terms, rather than the injunctions on devices that Apple and Motorola Mobility have both been chasing. The FTC has recently voiced concerns that patent holders are citing FRAND standards-essential patent license disputes as a key justification for enacting sales bans on rivals' product lines.

[via ComputerWorld]