Apple’s one of the most active companies around in the smartphone and tablet sphere when it comes to litigation, and it fights tooth-and-nail to protect its software and design patents. Maybe it even fights a little too forcefully, and as such, it’s easy to find yourself rooting for the other guy. If that’s the boat you find yourself in, you may have taken note back in August when we learned of pretty serious-sounding complaint Motorola (and by extension, Google) was bringing against Apple in front of the ITC, accusing the company of violating seven of its own patents. All of a sudden, though, that whole thing seems to have jumped the rails, and Motorola has filed to withdraw its complaint. What gives?
Well, your first instinct might be that the companies came to an agreement between themselves. After all, Motorola had initially said that “Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations”, suggesting that if Apple agreed to some licensing terms, this might all be avoided. However, this filing to dismiss the complaint claims “there are no agreements between Motorola and Apple, written or oral, express or implied, concerning the subject matter of this investigation.”
Did Motorola and Google just decide that the case against Apple wasn’t strong enough to stand on its own? Is this some strategic move to curry favor with Apple, perhaps to shield Motorola and Google from future complaints raised by Apple? Considering the business implications the initial complaint posed, there must have been some good reason for backing down. For the moment, though, we’re in the dark.