A couple months ago, Microsoft asked Judge James L. Robart to confirm that the second phase of the Microsoft-Motorola RAND breach of contract trial — in which the actual breach and damages issues will be addressed — would be tried to Judge Robart himself, and not a jury (a motion that Motorola opposed). Microsoft claimed that Motorola had waived its right to a jury trial. But yesterday, Judge Robart issued an order denying Microsoft’s motion, setting a jury trial to begin on August 26, 2013 on the breach of contract issues.
[2013.05.20 Order Denying Motion Confirming Bench Trial]
As support for the ruling, the court explained that Microsoft itself demanded a jury trial on the very same causes of action (breach of contract/promissory estoppel) that were asserted as counterclaims in a Motorola patent infringement action that was later consolidated with the RAND breach of contract case. The court noted that since the actions were consolidated, “Motorola may reasonably rely on Microsoft’s demand for a jury trial on all issues, including the breach of contract issues.” (As we have previously discussed, consolidation of the cases may also ultimately affect appellate jurisdiction in the case, too). While Judge Robart acknowledged that “Motorola could have been more clear in its jury demand,” he explained that given the complicated mix of issues in the case, he came to the conclusion that he must give Motorola all reasonable presumptions against waiver.
So it’s up to several good citizens of the Seattle, WA area to decide whether Motorola breached its RAND obligations — this ought to be interesting. Mark down August 26, 2013 in your calendars, folks.