Less than a month after publicly scorning Apple's practices in his court, renowned federal judge Richard A. Posner is again calling out Apple in its patent case against Motorola — this time with an explicit warning that it may be forbidden from filing future motions without express permission from the court. The current courtroom drama centers around a motion Apple recently filed, asking the court to stop the deposition of one of its experts. On its face, that doesn't seem particularly egregious. In fact, it's rather standard practice. However, the problem is that Judge Posner already denied such a request from Apple just a few days earlier. Judge Posner has a reputation for being a strict taskmaster, so it's not surprising that the judge's order on Apple's renewed attempt to stop the deposition was oozing with displeasure — going as far as to call Apple's attempt to use the health of the expert's wife to justify rescheduling a "disingenuous" excuse. That alone is enough to cause any attorney concern, but it gets worse for Apple. Judge Posner went on to make it clear Apple has received its final warning:
"I deny the second half of Apple's motion (seeking prohibition of the deposition) as frivolous and the first half (seeking substitution) as untimely. I've had my fill of frivolous filings by Apple. The next such motion, and I shall forbid it to file any motions without first moving for leave to file."
To be clear, this isn't a threat to kill off Apple's substantive case against Motorola, but a requirement that all motions must be pre-approved before filing would be a substantial inconvenience and procedural hurdle going forward. At a minimum, Apple isn't doing itself any favors. It's not the first time Judge Posner has expressed irritation with a party or its attorneys, but we're sure Apple didn't want to become the main focus of his ire in this case. We imagine Apple will be walking a bit softer from here on out.