Federal judge tosses Apple patent lawsuit against Motorola

Forget about that trial in Apple's patent case against Google's Motorola. The judge just threw the case out in a big setback for Apple.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval

A U.S. district court judge in Wisconsin has just dismissed Apple's patent case against Motorola Mobility, now a Google unit.

Greg Sandoval/CNET

According to the blog Foss Patents, which was first to report today's decision, Judge Barbara Crabb, of the Western District of Wisconsin, dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning that Apple will have to successfully appeal her decision to revive the case. Apple can't simply refile in another district court.

Apple filed suit against Motorola Mobility in March 2011 after Motorola sought 2.25 percent of all net sales on iOS products that use essential industry standard patents. Companies that own industry-essential patents are expected to offer them under licensing terms that are "fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory " or FRAND for short.

Apple accused Motorola of gouging and seeking excessive royalty payments for its patents, which cover video streaming and Wi-Fi technology. Apple is engaged in a patent war with Google on numerous fronts and in multiple high-profile legal cases, including Apple v. Samsung.

Things had gone mostly Apple's way up until last week, Foss Patents blogger Florian Mueller wrote, when the Google-owned Motorola filed a motion that would have required Apple to adhere to whatever the court decided was a fair royalty rate. But Apple played hardball, saying it would only agree to a court-determined rate if the rate didn't exceed $1 per iPhone.

Mueller has consulted for Microsoft, which is pursuing a similar legal case against Motorola.