Federal Judge Richard Posner has thrown out Apple and Motorola's patent case once and for all, after giving Apple one final chance last week to prove that Motorola smartphones should be barred from sale in the U.S.
Justice Posner dismissed the case once earlier this month, alleging that neither side had a clear enough argument.
Later in the month he announced that the case would resume on June 20, though he warned both Apple and Motorola (currently being acquired by Apple's biggest smartphone rival, Google) to be ready to accept royalty payments rather than sales injunctions.
But even with that final opportunity, it seems neither Apple nor Motorola was able to convince the judge that the other had infringed on any of their patents.
What's good for Apple isn't good for consumers
"Apple is complaining that Motorola's phones as a whole ripped off the iPhone as a whole," Justice Posner wrote in his 38-page decision.
"But Motorola's desire to sell products that compete with the iPhone is a separate harm - and a perfectly legal one - from any harm caused by patent infringement."
He concluded that Apple was unable to demonstrate that the iPhone "suffered loss of market share, brand recognition, or customer goodwill as a result of Motorola's alleged infringement of the patent claims still in play in this case."
Will the case resume?
Posner dismissed the Apple-Motorola suit "with prejudice," meaning neither party can re-file.
But an appeal in the federal circuit is possible, and certainly likely, given Apple's propensity for relentlessness in chasing these claims.
Motorola's people have expressed pleasure with the outcome, as Apple's most recent efforts would have seen Motorola's Android smartphones banned from the U.S. if successful.
Characteristically, Apple reportedly declined to comment.