Posner throws out Apple-Motorola Case

As suggested by earlier rulings, Posner has thrown out the entire Apple-Motorola case. As I argued in Launching the Innovation Renaissance our patent system has became a weapon wielded by large corporations against competitor innovations. Posner’s ruling is complex but one point is clear he thinks that the courts should not act as a second in these corporate battles:

…The danger that Apple’s goal in obtaining an injunction is harassment of its bitter rival, requiring particularly watchful supervision by the court should it issue the injunction, is suggested by the fact that while a delayed injunction would in principle render no benefit to Apple besides harming its competitor by forcing it to waste time and money finding a new way of performing the functions now performed in an allegedly infringing manner, an ongoing royalty would yield significant income to Apple—yet which it wants to forgo in favor of imposing costs and litigation burdens on its adversary.

The notion that these minor-seeming infringements have cost Apple market share and consumer goodwill is implausible, has virtually no support in the record, and so fails to indicate that the benefits to Apple from an injunction would exceed the costs to Motorola. An injunction that imposes greater costs on the defendant than it confers benefits on the plaintiff reduces net social welfare. That is the insight behind the “balance of hard-ships” component of the eBay standard for injunctive relief in patent cases.

Hat tip: @postlibertarian.


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