As the litigation between Motorola and Apple rages on throughout
the country, one judge has had enough of an ever increasing number
of claims and patents asserted by both companies. As explained by
the district court, "[b]oth Apple and Motorola greatly
expanded the scope of this patent litigation by, among other
things, supplementing patent infringement and invalidity
As part of these supplemental infringement and invalidity
contentions, the asserted claims and patents dramatically
increased. "The litigation now includes over 180 claims
asserted from the 12 patents, and the parties dispute the meaning
of over 100 terms from those claims."
As a result, the district court noted it would have to address
these disputes in a Markman process, which the parties also
recognized was not realistic. The parties agreed that the case
should be simplified but the parties could not agree on how to
achieve that goal. Instead, "[w]ithout a hint of irony, the
parties now ask the Court to mop up a mess they made by holding a
hearing to reduce the size and complexity of the case."
The district court declined the invitation. "The Court
declines this invitation. Most parties that come before the Court
are trying to resolve their legal dispute as expeditiously,
efficiently, and fairly as possible so that they can get on with
their business or personal lives. During the course of litigation,
disagreements will necessarily arise--indeed,
one could describe cases as disagreements themselves--and the
Court understands its role is to resolve those disagreements, a
task it is accustomed to handling. But in the present case, the
parties' obstreperous and cantankerous conduct--combined with
the existence of similar cases by the same parties or their
affiliates throughout the world--makes it plain that the parties
have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this
dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation
worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end. That
is not a proper use of this Court."
The district court did however agree that the Markman hearing
should be postponed so that the parties could clean up their own
mess. "Perhaps because the parties correctly suspected that
the Court would balk at their request to clean up their mess, the
parties also suggest delaying the Markman process until they can
narrow the case themselves. Since that puts the onus where it
belongs, that is what the Court will do."
Accordingly, the district court continued the hearing for four
months and issued a warning to both parties. "The Court
expects that the parties will use this time to narrow the case to a
manageable scope themselves. If the parties cannot make this case
manageable, the Court forewarns them that it
intends to stay the litigation while the Markman issues are
pending and issue a decision as expeditiously as the parties
Motorola Mobility, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Case No.
1:12-cv-20271-SCOLA (S.D. Fla. April 10, 2013)
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On May 19, 2016, Robert Bahr, Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy of the U.S. PTO sent a memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps that discusses the recent decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
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