Apple to Revive Lawsuit Against Google Over High Royalties

Motorola apple

Apple has asked a US court of appeals to revive its lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Unit claiming that the company asked too much in royalty fees for standard-essential patent licenses, Bloomberg reports.

“You’re talking about billions of dollars hanging over the head of Apple,” Apple lawyer Joshua Rosenkranz of Orrick Herrington, told a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington today.

“A reasonable rate can be different for different implementers,” said Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel, who is representing Motorola Mobility. The mobile-phone maker made an “opening offer” and “Apple never responded.”

The two parties have been fighting in different courts since 2010 over smartphone patents, but neither has been victorious. Motorola was first to file a lawsuit, but in reply Apple quickly started suing other manufacturers, saying that Android smartphones were copying features of the iPhone.

In the case on appeal, the iPhone maker says Motorola violated the standard-essential patent license fair and reasonable terms on technology for wireless and 3G transmissions, as it demanded 2.25% of the sale price of the iPhone. This makes $12 for every iPhone sold.

Apple considered it too much, pointing out that this was more than 12 times what Motorola was charging other parties for the exact same technology. In reply, Motorola said Apple was late coming into the smartphone business and is now trying to avoid paying anything to the innovators. You may recall that Apple considered fair license $1 or less for each iPhone and asked the judge to rule so.

But the trial to set a royalty was thrown out by Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who rejected the damage theory of both companies.

“I don’t understand what any of you are doing,” Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore said. “Why are you suing each other in 15 different courts? I don’t think even you can keep track of which patent is in which court.”