Apple, Motorola seeking arbitration in patent wars as a prelude to global settlement

By , Nov 16, 2012

Shocker: Apple and Google’s handset arm Motorola Mobility are looking to resolve parts of their global patent dispute pertaining to standards-essential patents deemed critical to smartphone technology. Bloomberg points us to a court filing saying Apple wants to end the patent spat “completely”. Both parties are now seeking ways to resolve their differences through binding arbitration, hoping to perhaps reach a broad licensing agreement…

A Wisconsin federal court on November 5 tossed Apple’s “patent lawsuit with prejudice” out of the window. Motorola Mobility actually first raised the issue of arbitration after Apple accused it of misusing standard-essential patents to demand unreasonable royalties.

Bloomberg reports:

The companies have been exchanging proposals on using binding arbitration to reach a licensing agreement over patents that are essential to comply with industry standards on how phones operate.

Such an agreement could lead to a global settlement of all of their patent disputes, Apple said in a filing yesterday.

Here’s what Apple wrote in its filing

Apple is also interested in resolving its dispute with Motorola completely and agrees that arbitration may be the best vehicle to resolve the parties’ dispute.

Google General Counsel Kent Walker wrote in a November 13 letter to Apple that was filed with the court:

We have long sought a path to resolving patent issues and we welcome the chance to build on the constructive dialogue between our companies.

While we prefer to seek a framework for a global (rather than piecemeal) resolution that addresses all of our patent disputes, we are committed to reaching agreement on a license for our respective standard-essential patents.

Google previously dropped its second ITC patent infringement claims against Apple, the move some watchers described as a friendly gesture.

We’ve known the search firm is tiring of patent wars and that Apple CEO Tim Cook views Android litigation as a “necessary evil“.

And unlike Samsung, Google just recently indicated it still is “interested in reaching an agreement with Apple” over patents. It’s also worth pointing out that Apple last week made peace with HTC by signing a ten-year cross-licensing pact.

Finally, Apple thus far has avoided suing Google directly over Android. For example, though the iPhone maker added Jelly Bean to its second case against Samsung, the scope of that filing is limited to Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus devices only.

Perhaps some good will come out of all this brouhaha after all?

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  • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J.

    Seems to me Google is leaving its hardware partners out high and dry. Letting them do the dirty work.