The U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner is known for his witty remarks in the courtroom. As in, he tossed the Apple-Motorola suit out of the window and told parties that they have to prove injury, adding “I’m sorry that it seems to be petering out like this”.

And in announcing the dismal, he proclaimed that “no more can Apple be permitted to force a trial in Federal Court the sole outcome of which would be an award of $1”.

He’s back now with candid remarks regarding technology giants going after each other’s throat in the courtroom. He also opined that companies like Apple are acting as if they were in “constant struggle for survival”. And wait ’till you hear his take on the broken patent system…

Reuters talked to Posner, 73, here’s what came out of him regarding Apple and its thermonuclear war on Android:

It’s a constant struggle for survival. As in any jungle, the animals will use all the means at their disposal, all their teeth and claws that are permitted by the ecosystem.

It’s interesting that Posner specifically volunteered to oversee the Apple-Motorola (“I didn’t think I could have a trial just for fun”), ensuring the litigants he was “really neutral” as he used a BlackBerry. However, he later replaced his court-issued BlackBerry with an iPhone upgrade.

On the Motorola-Apple suite:

In canceling the trial, Posner said an injunction barring the sale of Motorola phones would harm consumers. He also rejected the idea of trying to ban an entire phone based on patents that cover individual features like the smooth operation of streaming video. Apple’s patent, Posner wrote in his June 22 order, “is not a claim to a monopoly of streaming video!”

And this bit on the patent system:

It’s not clear that we really need patents in most industries. Also, devices like smartphones have thousands of component features, and they all receive legal protection. You just have this proliferation of patents. It’s a problem.

Finally – a judge with some common sense!

Not everyone agrees.

Jason Diaz, on Twitter:

Judges who don’t invent anything shouldn’t make opinions.

I’m totally with Posner and am damn sure you are, too.

The patent system is broken beyond repair.

Legal environment which allows for patent trolling and endless litigation is broken, too.

And who’s the primary beneficiary of this mess?

Lawyers, that’s who!


  • abujafer

    Hey, what’s so wrong with lawyers? Sure there’s a higher percentage of “bad eggs” with lawyers, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get money. It’s not like they hired themselves and then forced their respective companies to sue other companies. Actions like those require a lot of confirmations and whatnot throughout the company, and the lawyers are just carrying out their orders.

  • I just wish everyone would stop all this and get off each others backs.

  • SimonReidy

    The Judge is spot on and I think most people would agree. Unfortunately his comments won’t change much.

    We can only hope that many more legal professionals like him, get sick of tech giants clogging up the courts with their petty patent claims and the system is eventually changed.

    Apple is already killing it with sales and have enough money to stay on top for years if they keep innovating with exciting new products. There efforts to win the smartphone wars in the courtroom seem desperate and “fruitless”.

  • I agree 100% with what the judge is saying about the patent system it’s true it sucks. But at the same time he post to represent the law. I feel like he base his decision or judgement using his own opinions on what’s he feels is right ( he is right ) but didn’t represent the law for either side. It was a biased opinionated judgment and both sides could seek new judgement. Again he’s right about sucky patent system. 

    • momerathe

      just to be clear, the grounds on which he threw out the case are not the things he’s talking about here. There is a long tradition of judges calling for changes the law but it’s up to the legislature to act on those calls, or not.

  • chambone

    The witty judge likens the tech industry in general attacking each other to “constant struggle for survival”, not Apple’s war on Android. Title’s a teensy bit trollish.