updated 08:45 pm EDT, Tue April 3, 2012
Misinterpretation 'unprofessional and unacceptable
Federal Judge Richard A. Posner, in rejecting an motion to reconsider parts of his favorable Claim Construction Order of March 29th that adopted Apple's broad interpretation of its scrolling patent against Motorola, ripped into the unnamed Apple attorneys that filed the brief [PDF link], calling it "troubling" and accusing Apple of wasting the court's time. The lawyers had apparently misinterpreted a section of the judge's original order and made arguments that parts of the order were in error.
In his response, Posner details exactly where Apple's attorneys misinterpreted him, reached conclusions that were the opposite of what the order called for, and summarily dismissed the arguments Apple was making. In doing so, he said that "there can be no substantive response to this argument of Apple's, for it argues not against my order but against Apple's mirage of that order."
The four-page response rails about the amount of time needed for both Apple to have written the faulty argument, and for Posner to compose his detailed reply: "Yet it seems that Apple brought about this expenditure of scarce resources without first making a careful reading of the page or so of my order against which this motion is launched. Such inconsiderate sloppiness is unprofessional and unacceptable," Posner wrote.
He also addresses the sole point of the reconsideration request that made "an argument that might not be talking past my order entirely," and rejects Apple's attempt to bring up a new argument, saying a motion to reconsider may not be used to make a point Apple had failed to bring up in earlier briefings. The original order from Posner was a crucial victory for the company in its lawsuit against Motorola, since it rejected Motorola's argument that the patent on vertical finger-swiping was only valid at certain angles.
Posner has expressed some exasperation at both parties in the course of the suit, for example pointing out to Motorola in his original order that "I reject Motorola's [finger-angle] argument (this is the third time they've made it, and the third time I've rejected it)." The ruling means Motorola is almost certain to be found in violation of the patent unless they can show some other compelling reason that the patent should be wholly invalidated. Though related to hardware implementations of touchscreen technology, the ruling could have a significant impact on Android if Motorola and others are forced to either license the patent or come up with different touchscreen heuristic methodologies.