Intellectual Ventures’ patent showdown with Motorola ends in mistrial

Nathan Myhrvold

Nathan Myhrvold

Intellectual Ventures’s first legal fight with Google-owned Motorola Mobility has ended with both sides walking away with nothing but a bunch of legal fees … for now.

A jury was unable to come to a unanimous verdict in the first of three cases the patent holding firm has brought against the smartphone maker over patents relating to Motorola’s hardware and Google Play, according to a statement released by IV. Judge Sue Robinson of the U.S. District Court in Delaware declared a mistrial a day after jurors began deliberations on the case. Now, both companies are gathering steam again for their next legal actions, which include two more trials on other patents, as well as a retrial of this case.

“Mistrials are an occasional fact of life, and it is disappointing (for us, and probably also for Motorola) that the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict,” Melissa Finocchio, Intellectual Ventures’s Chief Litigation Counsel said in the statement. “But we are looking ahead to the retrial on these patents and also to our two other upcoming trials with Motorola Mobility Inc. later this year.”

Motorola, for its part, pledged to keep fighting the suit, which is the first of Intellectual Ventures’s lawsuits to ever go to trial in the company’s 14 year existence.

“We continue to believe this lawsuit was based on overbroad patent claims meant to tax innovation,” the company said in a statement to Reuters.

Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures, which was founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold, has been one of the companies at the center of a growing national debate over patent trolling. While IV argues that it works to innovate in addition to suing companies over patents in its portfolio, and is therefore different from other companies who just use their portfolios for litigation. The company recently cut back its patent buying as it looks for more funding.

Google recently reached an agreement to sell Motorola Mobility to Lenovo, but will retain much of the company’s patent porfolio. It’s unclear whether Lenovo or Google will be responsible for carrying the litigation forward.

The next time the two companies square off should be on or after April 7, when they meet again in Delaware to fight out another case over two more patents.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    I for one am thrilled by this. This is as close to fulfilling Henry Kissinger’s wish that “they both lose” when he was asked about the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

    The only people you can root for in this battle is the lawyers in the hopes that this will drag out and be horribly costly to everyone.