A week after slapping down Google-owned Motorola(s GOOG) and Apple(s AAPL) for some of their “ridiculous” claims in their ongoing patent lawsuit, Judge Richard Posner has given the case a small reprieve. In a follow-up to last week’s initial decision, Posner said he would allow one more hearing to weigh a possible injunction.
The judge on Wednesday signed an order granting Apple’s request for a “traditional injunction hearing” at which both sides will argue whether they have met a four-part legal test to obtain a ban on the other’s product.
The hearing is consistent with his earlier decision to take the case out of the hands of a jury.
At the new hearing, scheduled for next Wednesday, the parties will also argue whether royalty payments should be imposed.
The decision is a bit of a surprise. Last week it looked as though Posner was inclined to dismiss the whole thing, based on his strongly worded ruling and what appeared like a chance to take a stand on the totally out-of-control patent system. As my colleague Jeff Roberts wrote at the time:
[Posner] stated that there was no point in holding a trial because it was apparent that neither side could show they had been harmed by the other’s patent infringement. He said he was inclined to dismiss the case with prejudice — meaning the parties can’t come back to fight over the same patents — and that he would enter a more formal opinion confirming this next week.
That “formal opinion” gives both sides another chance. It’s not a jury trial, but instead will be decided by the judge.
The order was spotted by FOSS Patents.