Apple: Motorola has no legal standing in two cases

News 13 Sep, 2011

Motorola lost its ability to fight two patent cases in the US thanks to the Google acquisition announcement, Apple lawyers claim.

Apple has claimed Motorola Mobility has no legal standing to fight two of its patent battles thanks to the proposed acquisition by Google.

The iPhone maker is fighting a number of legal battles with Motorola in various states – including Florida and Wisconsin – with both asserting patents against each other.

Google has no ownership interest in the patents. Google has no right to license, assign, or encumber the patents, and no right even to practice the patents.

Apple has now claimed Motorola doesn’t have the right to sue in those two states, due to restrictions over enforcing patents thanks to the Google acquisition.

This could mean the cases will not progress until Google’s acquisition goes through, if it eventually does.

According to IP expert Florian Mueller, Apple’s lawyers said in a court filing that “Motorola has surrendered critical rights in the patents-in-suit, such that Motorola no longer has prudential standing to pursue this action.”

“According to the publicly-filed Merger Agreement, Motorola has ceded control of the most basic rights regarding the patents-in-suit,” Apple’s lawyers claimed.

“Absent Google's consent, Motorola cannot: (1) sue for infringement of its patents in any new action; (2) settle pending litigation (including this case) that would require a license to any of its patents; (3) license or sublicense its patents except in limited circumstances relating to the sale of Motorola’s products; (4) assign its rights in its patents; and/or (5) grant a covenant not to sue for infringement of its patents.”

Apple’s lawyers went further, saying Google had no right to assert the patents either at the current time, as it had no official control over Motorola as yet.

“Google has no ownership interest in the patents. Google has no right to license, assign, or encumber the patents, and no right even to practice the patents, much less an exclusive right,” they continued.

“Accordingly, Google is not injured if another party infringes the patents. Google only has the right to veto actions taken by Motorola with respect to the patents. On these facts, Google lacks constitutional standing to enforce the patents-in-suit and cannot be joined as a party to this action due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”

Apple has been fighting a number of court battles with Android partners. A Samsung Galaxy Tab ban in Germany in Germany was recently upheld, marking another legal success for the iPhone maker against the South Korean firm.