Chicago judge Richard Posner has thrown out Apple and Motorola's jury trial set to start next Monday, calling their patent claims "frivolous" and "ridiculous". Posner had previously forbidden Apple from turning the case into a "popularity contest", which is certainly fair given the experts that Apple is prone to dragging out for these kinds of cases. Finally, he decided that "neither party can establish a right to relief", and tentatively dismissed the case altogether. The jury trial was needed to decide if either side was due damages, and with Posner dismissing the case himself, he won't decide if Apple or Motorola are due a full-blown injunction either. Motorola and Apple are also duking it out in Europe, but that's another can of worms altogether.
Google bought Motorola as a means of protecting Android on the patent front, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that it's just as much opening them to attack. Figuring out timelines in relation to Motorola's acquisition has been important in figuring out if it's just Motorola that's liable for potential patent infringements, or if Google's on the hook as well. The patents Apple and Motorola have been fighting over span from cloud to GSM technologies, few of which, Posner has previously argued, a jury would be able to understand and deliver a verdict on .
So what happens next? Posner hasn't issued a detailed order about throwing out the case, but we should see something next week, and he reserves the right to change his mind before then. If the case is well and truly done in Chicago, Apple and Motorola will likely have to take this fight to the federal level, and due to a previous ruling in Florida, Motorola may not be able to bring their case to court until 2014 unless the ITC steps in (though they're unlikely to agree to ban sales for anyone). Long story short: Google and Apple will have their horns locked in court for eons.
Source: FOSS Patents