The dismissal came last Monday, just hours before the trial was set to begin in Madison, Wisconsin.
The federal court in Madison considered the case not deserving of further trial. Apple was suing Motorola, which was acquired by Google last May for $12.5 billion. The Cupertino-giant alleged that the practices of Motorola regarding licensing its patents to competitors are unfair.
District Judge Barbara Crabb dismissed the case late last week following her uncertainty whether or not she has legal authority to preside over the case.
A Google spokesman revealed that his company was pleased with the order. Apple did not comment at all. Following the judge’s order, Apple conducted a legal brief and said that the judge had the authority to hear the case.
Google acquired Motorola partly due to its massive portfolio of patents. According to Lea Shaver, a professor at Indiana University teaching intellectual property, a ruling in favor of Apple would have diminished Google’s bargaining chip in negotiating settlements.
“This puts Apple back into the position it was before,” he said.
Microsoft and Apple has been fighting in courts around the world against Google and tech partners including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which utilizes the power of Android operating system on its wide range of products.
According to Apple, Android is a copy of its own iOS, while Microsoft said it holds patents that are not licensed to be used by Android operating system. The Redmond-based company is also suing Motorola for a case similar to what Apple filed in Wisconsin.
Both Apple and Microsoft think that Google is asking an unfairly large sum of royalty for its industry standard patents. They said that Motorola had agreed in principle to allow them to use the patents involved so long as the charges are fair. However, they argued that Motorola are seeking high royalties after the technology had been made industry standard.
Judge Crabb had said during the run-up to trial what fair royalty for Motorola would be.
Apple, in a court filing last week, said that they would not follow the judge’s order if her rate would exceed $1 per Apple smartphone.
Following Apple’s stance, Crabb then felt that she had no authority to hear the case, as she’s wondering whether or not she’s authorized to give an advisory opinion.
“It has become clear that Apple’s interest in a license is qualified,” she declared last Friday.
In contrast, Microsoft had agreed to abide by whatever terms Judge James Robart will give in a Seattle case.
The Wisconsin case was scheduled to start on Monday afternoon in Madison but Crabb decided to dismiss it during a morning hearing. If Apple fails to ask Crabb to reconsider, then her dismissal of the case can be appealed.
Google said that Motorola’s licensing fees had always been well within reasonable limits. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple,” a Google spokesman said.