Apple loses copyright case against Google

An important patent infringement case between Apple and Google was chucked out by a federal court judge in Wisconsin.

Apple had been complaining that Google was overcharging it for patents which were supposed to be given under “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms,” often referred to by the acronym FRAND.

The patents cover parts of the wireless UMTS, GPRS, GSM and 802.11 standards.

Apple insisted that it was not going to pay more than a dollar a unit for the patents. Its argument was that a dollar was fair and reasonable, and it had always decided what was fair and reasonable for Apple.

According to Computer World, Google said that $2.25 was reasonable and the court agreed. In fact, the presiding judge in the case, US District Court Judge Barbara Crabb was a little cross.

She wrote that at the final pretrial conference that she asked Apple to explain why it believed the court should determine a FRAND rate even though the rate may not resolve the parties’ licensing or infringement disputes.

She wondered why a court was deciding a complex task of determining a FRAND rate if the end result would be a suggestion that could be used later as a bargaining chip between the parties.

Apple’s reply that the rate would resolve the dispute in this particular case was not satisfactory and did not assuage the judge’s concerns about determining a FRAND rate that may be used solely as a negotiating tool between the parties, she wrote.

Needless to say Google was happy about the ruling. It told Computer World that under the regime of Motorola Mobility, which once used to own the patents, it had long offered licensing to extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate. It was still keen to get an agreement with Apple.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has previously said that if the judge did not rule in its favour it would appeal.