After months of back-and-forth between Apple and Motorola, it seemed last week as if their ongoing patent battle was finally over when federal judge Richard Posner finally dismissed the case from his court.
But now Judge Posner reversed his own decision, inviting Apple and Motorola Mobility back to court on June 20 to once again have at one another.
Like many other tech companies, Apple and Motorola have been at one another's throats for months.
Both sides raised numerous claims of patent infringement against one another, and each asked the court at various times to ban the other's products from being sold.
But Justice Posner dismissed the case last week "with the prejudice because neither party can establish a right to relief."
In other words, one can extrapolate, things were too muddled and neither side had a clear case.
Back in business
The case was not expected to resume any time soon - if at all. But Justice Posner issued a surprise, one-page order today instructing both parties to return to court on June 20.
But "the parties should be prepared to address the possibility of substitution for an injunction of an equitable decree for a reasonable royalty going forward," Posner wrote in the order.
In other words, they should be prepared to back down on some of their more outlandish requests and even think about a compromise going forward.
Instead of issuing injunctions against Apple and Motorola's products, Posner could force both sides to adopt fairer licensing terms, something they've been struggling with.
In particular, Motorola's patents that relate to Apple's iPhone are considered key technologies, and Motorola is therefore obligated to offer Apple fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms.
Expect that phrase to pop up often when the case resumes next week.
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